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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Future of Christmas Barrels

According to deputy Customs comptroller, Christmas barrels are putting on a significant strain on Customs resources; and come next year the beneficiaries of those barrels may have to procure the services of a customs broker to clear them.

Approximately, I8,000 barrels were received this year.

The procurement of the services of a broker to clear the barrels has cost implications for the beneficiaries and it means that they will to push their hands into their pockets to meet the costs of the brokerage.

If the barrels are primarily for the poor and the vulnerable, then I suggest that Customs may have to carefully look again at the implementation of this measure as it will bring even more hardship bear on many of the unfortunate beneficiaries.

As a temporary measure, I suggest the outsourcing of brokerage of those barrels to one or more reliable brokerage firms to assist in the clearing those barrels with government bearing the costs.

Barrels seem to have become a part of our Christmas tradition and many vulnerable St. Lucians with friends and relatives overseas are beneficiaries. The concession was the brainchild of former Prime Minister, Dr Kenny Anthony.

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