by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Grenada Traffickers Association meet with police, customs and ports authority
- Traffickers expressed entry, security and duties concerns
Complaints of unfair treatment at Grenada’s main port of entry, prompted officers from the Customs and Excise Department, Grenada Ports Authority and Royal Grenada Police Force to meet with the members of the Grenada Traffickers Association.
On Monday, 2 July 2018 traffickers lamented of being unfairly targeted by police. Some also complained of having to pay double on goods entering the country, while others have experienced issues pertaining to being denied entry to the port and expressed a number of other security concerns.
President of the association Catherine Sylvester updated NOW Grenada on the outcome of the meeting. She said the issues facing traffickers are becoming overbearing for traffickers plying their trade. “Some of the concerns we have is that when our goods come in and are checked by customs, we are again searched by police again and having our goods being handled in an unsanitary way. Another problem is that we were not notified of a change in security measures, which came as a surprise to us. Some traffickers have even complained of being wrongfully mistreated by police.”
The added security measures are in place to reduce the importation of drugs and illegal items.
In response to the traffickers’ concerns, Officer in Charge of Port Police Department Superintendent Solomon Stafford says the authorities will look into some of the queries made with the view of finding the best solution going forward. “The traffickers would have brought up some issues that they have concerns with, and we look at those issues and take note of them, and we will discuss the issues not only with police because most of the issues involve port authorities and customs, so we will be meeting and looking at these issues to see what could be done, because we are clear that we want to ensure that we have a very good working relationship with traffickers.”
With regards to security measures taken at the port, Stafford says these measures are quite necessary. “One of the issues here is whether we actually understand the role and responsibility and whether we adhere to those conditions, because of everything that we do we have guidelines under which we operate and whether people understand those conditions and are adhering to them. What we will do from our end is to try as much as possible to communicate the procedures and how it should happen and why it should not happen in a certain way, and we hope we can come to such an agreement on how we operate in the future.”
The meeting ended with the officials from the various departments promising to review those issues with the intention of finding the best possible solutions.