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Audley Shaw knocks Customs increase to clear barrels

Thursday, November 01, 2012 | 1:15 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica -Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw has hit out against the increase in fees by Jamaica Customs to clear personal-effects barrels 

"It is unconscionable that just days after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy, the Customs department would make such a move,” Shaw commented last night 

“Barrels such as the ones in question are sent by family members overseas to locals to augment their subsistence and to tax that shows that the Minister of Finance is not cognisant of the suffering many Jamaicans are currently experiencing," he added.

Jamaica Customs Department announced that as of November 1.the fee to clear barrels containing personal effects would be increased to $6, 500, up from $5,000.

The $1,500 increase, which comes on the approach of the Christmas season, is blamed on the depreciation of the Jamaican dollar since December 2009 when the rate was last set.

Shaw called on the Finance minister and the Customs Department to “demonstrate some compassion in this difficult time” and suggested that the customs department roll back the increase or delay it until Jamaicans affected by Hurricane Sandy are “back on their feet”.

He said people in areas such as St Thomas, Portland and St Mary were now, more than ever, depending on this assistance as they tried to recover from the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy.

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