THE EDITOR: Our enthusiastic Finance Minister rushed off a media release as commentators were lambasting both the Government and the Customs and Excise Department (which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Finance) for the 19,000 containers which entered the country unexamined over an eight-month period.
He went into a breakdown of numbers to bamboozle his followers.
TT "physically inspects...ten times the world average" of containers. We scan containers "11 times more than the EU." Blah, blah, blah.
This government is very good at obfuscation.
Nowhere in his release did he address the issue of non-functioning scanners, the shortage of staff at Customs and Excise or the massive inefficiencies in the same department.
At a parliamentary joint select committee meeting in January 2021, Randall Karim, the chief technical and operations adviser in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said that scanning 20 per cent of containers was too high. "The best practice is actually less than five per cent."
If proper risk assessment is done, then we can scan and inspect less than five per cent. But we all know how things operate in TT.
The stories are legendary about illegal findings in containers not being traced to anyone, even though the shipper is known. "Those are my goods but not my drugs."
Quenching one's thirst from the juice at the balisier fountain must be one fantastic experience.
LINUS F DIDIER
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