BVI News

HM Customs launches intensive repossession drive

One of the repossessed vehicles.

Her Majesty’s Customs Department has embarked on an intensive exercise to retrieve outstanding debts from vehicle importers and businesses that have been delinquent in payments of Customs duties for several years.

In a recent interview on ZBVI radio, Commissioner of Customs Wade Smith said these outstanding payments amount to tens of thousands of dollars that have been outstanding for the better part of a decade.

Years ago, a programme was initiated to facilitate regular instalments of Customs duty payments for importers who may have been challenged in making full, one-time payments.

According to Smith, his department discovered that several importers have not returned since making their first payment. He said the delinquent business owners are also now refusing to answer phone calls or acknowledge letters sent to them, and are further refusing to honour their obligations.

Law enforcement arm engaged

Smith said Customs, therefore, embarked on this new retrieval initiative that sees them “engaging the law enforcement arm” of the department.

He told listeners that officers are now visiting sites to repossess vehicles.

In what he described as a “pretty successful day” during a retrieval exercise this week, a number of vehicles were repossessed and delivered to the BVI Ports Authority facility where they are now being stored.

A popular food van based in Road Town was among the assets repossessed.

“I won’t get into the type of specifics with the types of business or businesses that are included. But I will say that there has been a number of equipment, vehicles that have been impounded at this time,” Smith stated.

BVI News understands that operators of the van have since gotten current on their payments.

Meanwhile, the Customs boss expressed that despite being given several opportunities to make payments through new arrangements, new amortisation plans and agreements, some offenders were offering different excuses for their delinquency. He said some claimed no one contacted them regarding payment.

One offender, he said, made full payment after not paying debts as far back as 2013.

Smith said he is encouraging offenders to visit the Customs office to arrange with the Department to fulfil their obligations.

Notwithstanding this, Customs Officers continue to be actively engaged in pursuing violators who have not returned to Customs to make their payments.

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37 Comments

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  1. Trudat! says:

    Good – now let’s chase dem MS that don’t pay their SS and NHI contributions as well. Tired of all this BS – pay your dues business owners.

    Like 93
    Dislike 3
  2. COI says:

    Is making departments worried?

    Like 29
  3. Yo papa says:

    That’s why it pays to be humble and not full of yourself

    Like 30
  4. @SSB says:

    could learn something from Customs. Stop issuing good standing to Employers who steal their employees Moneys and never pay.

    Like 50
    • Billy Kimba says:

      You see who in charge of SSB right? Nothing will change and the stealing of employee wages that are supposed to be paid to SS by employers will carry on.

      Like 15
  5. VI says:

    Wonderful. Some of them too wicked. They are busy making money but refusing to settle their bills

    Like 30
  6. Auction says:

    When is the auction for all these repossessed vehicles? Please auction them soon before they breakdown and rust away in the BVI Port Authority storage yard. I need a cheap back ho.

    Like 29
  7. What!!! says:

    Well done customs at last dealing with the thieves.

    Like 27
  8. Big Al says:

    This initiative to make past debt offenders take responsibility to make appropriate payments owed to government should have happened long ago. Social Security should also go after businesses who take money from their employees but don’t pay it into Social Security. All government departments should that have outstanding debts should embark on the same initiative. Some people think that they are entitled and is above the law. No one is above the law. While I am at it, make writing bad checks a Felony.

    Like 32
    • Concerned says:

      The problem with Social Security Payments is that the employer needs to send in a monthly return with the payment. Since they don’t send that or falsify it Social Security will not know what is owed.

  9. THEIR INTREST says:

    IF THEY HAVE SHARES IN THOSE BUSINESSES THEN THEY WILL TRY EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK TO EVADE PAYING THEIR TAXES AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO DOING THE RIGHT THING , IS EITHER FAMILY / FRIEND OR HAVE SHARES SIMPLE AS THAT

    Like 14
  10. PT9 says:

    Very good move Wade Smith.

    Like 23
    Dislike 1
  11. wow says:

    SOME MAKES IT BAD FOR OTHERS

    Like 12
    Dislike 2
  12. Next..... says:

    All manner of things getting launch now that the COI is here. Guess only now he realize that he should repossess….

    No matter how long night run day light will catch it.

    Like 14
    Dislike 3
  13. WEW says:

    Didn’t know they offered credit towards customs duty. Must depend on who you are. COD for everyone !

    Like 24
  14. Payment Plan? says:

    Why is anyone allowed to import assets into the BVI without paying the duty first? Who gets to have a payment plan? Customs now in the business of issuing credit? Thought you had to be a bank to do that? Guess its who you know around here?

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  15. Anon says:

    Anything owed to Govt. should be paid or some monthly arrangement made and monitored and adhered to. SS, NHI, IRD Customs etc. Otherwise SUSPEND THEIR TRADE LICENSE and legally force them to cease operations until they are compliant.

    Its called enforcement. So many laws being passed with no plan of how to enforce these growing number of policies!

    Like 16
  16. Charnele says:

    The Inland Revenue, Social Security and NHI should also implement a way to deal with delinquent employers who are taking out these deductions from their employees salary and not paying them into the relevant departments.
    Something has to be done cause a lot of businesses have been getting way with theft for far too long. The Government for years has been too lenient.

    Like 16
  17. Jane says:

    It seems odd that anyone was allowed to clear goods from the port without paying all the duty in full in the first instance. Is this available to everyone or just certain privileged few? Please also stop this practice so that the BVI government isnt providing what are effectively interest free loans to people by enabling them to defer these duties (or indeed avoid paying them altogether). Once again it seems like there is one rule for some, and another for the rest of us shmucks.

    Like 25
  18. Good says:

    Good stuff. Now let’s put something similar in place for Social Security, Inland Revenue and NHI. Too may delinquent employers deducting from employee salaries and not paying over. At the end of the day the employees are the ones being affected most.

  19. Rubber Duck says:

    Amazing how these government departments are suddenly shaping up.

    Nothing to do with the COI being in town.

  20. Rubber Duck says:

    So how come some are allowed to pay their customs duties in installments while others are never given that option? Who are these people who are allowed by the Commissioner of Customs to flout the rules ?

    But now of course with the COI in town all Mr Smiths empire is suddenly coming into line.

    Welcome to BVI.

    Like 11
  21. redstorm says:

    Now that you have repossessed the items , what’s next? Perhaps wont get much for those items. It would have been smart to do it two years after you decided for them to go with the items. Now those item don’t work the duty it had at the time.

  22. Homegrown says:

    Bet you is only Belongers on that list…

  23. Preal says:

    Will this now result in government auctions?

  24. Lawyers says:

    When are we going after the leaseholders of wickham cay? They owe millions while collecting millions in rent and other income. I need a lot on the Cay! The names will surprise you.

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