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Turnquest Defends New Customs System After User Complaints

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

By RIEL MAJOR

Tribune Staff Reporter

rmajor@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest has defended the new Click2Clear system after a series of complaints by users. People had criticised the Customs system for not being user friendly or functioning efficiently.

On Monday, scores of customers were frustrated from waiting to be served at the Arawak Cay Customs Department – complaining that the system was not functioning properly.

A customer, who preferred not to be named, said the site was wreaking havoc on her blood pressure.

She said: “I fill out the form and add photo, and it says it cannot verify the NIB number. They need to work out the issues with the website because I signed up over a month ago and heard nothing.”

Another disgruntled patron said he was frustrated trying to navigate through the website.

“‘When will all the kinks be worked out?’ I’ve tried several times submitting through website, live chats with Customs agents, submitting documents via email and calling help desk. They keep replying via email that they need a valid NIB smart card, my address and info, and they replied also saying my first name is invalid! I mean, I had my name all my life, I would know it’s valid. I’m now frustrated with all the submissions.”

One person said their application was denied twice. “I wasn’t able to upload scan of NIB card. Will try again when I’m feeling more patient.”

Mr Turnquest said: “There was a back-up on Friday in checking declarations, however all were cleared on Saturday. There is presently no hold up at APD (Arawak Port Development Company). There are six officers from the IT unit to assist brokers and officers in the ground with any issues that either may have in adjusting to the new system.”

When asked if any adjustments will be made to make the process easier, Mr Turnquest said as expected with any system there is a learning curve.

He said: “The Click2Clear system is innovative and feature-rich that will significantly assist with efficient cross-border trade once the learning curve is overcome by both Customs officers in the field as well as brokers and importers.”

Earlier in the year, Customs officials said they had reached a “major milestone” having integrated New Providence seaport to the Click2Clear Portal.

Superintendent Tyrone Sands, underscoring the importance of the move, stated: “This is important because over 80 percent of cargo coming into The Bahamas comes through the New Providence seaport in the Click2Clear business portal.”

He added: “This new system creates a level playing field for all importers. Customs processing will be more transparent, efficient and affordable. The system allows us to move toward a cashless Customs and reduce leakage of duty and revenue collection.”

Comments

The_Oracle 1 week, 5 days ago

Replacing leakage with blockage: Yep, that's Government for ya.

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SP 1 week, 5 days ago

The big question is how effective will the system be in eliminating graft and theft by Customs officers who now steal well over 40% of Customs revenue?

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 5 days ago

Turnquest and Marlon are doing all they can to screw everything up. Better not bring that single entry garbage to Freeport, we need our shipyard and our shipyard needs fast and accurate cargo clearance. We don't need to make them run all over the world looking for stupid, irrelevant documents....

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Islandboy242242 1 week, 4 days ago

Just like everything else, it's probably our fault right? We don't understand the customs system even though there is a trend of complaints related to NIB information not being accepted. Just like the problem is we don't understand the BGCSE grading schedule right? Just like BPL wasn't/isn't in a crisis and we should just shut up and pay the new "adjusted" bills coming soon right?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 4 days ago

Leave it to Turnquest to try defend the indefensible.

Nothing will ever work right within our customs department until such time that the crooked customs officers 'on the take' have been rooted out and sent home (or to prison) for good. I'm sure all of us, especially Turnquest, would be shocked to know the true annual leakages of government revenues caused by corrupt customs officers.

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 4 days ago

I am beginning to think Turnquest and Marlon are mentally handicapped. Those two fools keep going on about how they're making it easier to do business. Demanding an NIB card to clear cargo???? Um that is not a step we have ever had to deal with, so how is adding a step that is 100% unnecessary supposed to make it easier? They really are morons....

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The_Oracle 1 week, 4 days ago

The interesting thing is it cannot be implemented in Freeport. Ever. Court cases and privy council rulings are a huge sticking point. Of course it is expected they will attempt to bludgeon it through but they will find themselves once again at the wrong end of court rulings both old and new.

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