The Guyana Revenue Authority is calling on Guyanese to be vigilant and to provide the authority with any information that can aid in the effective cracking down on the smuggling and sale of prohibited items such as firecrackers and other explosives.
The appeal comes in the wake of a squib throwing incident in Alexander Village last Deepavali night.
Commissioner General, Khurshid Sattaur, has expressed regret at the display of gross disrespect for the sacred occasion.
He said that while the GRA has a mandate to ensure that such devices do not enter the country, third party information is needed to aid the process.
According to Sattaur, citizens have a role to play in preventing, not only importation, but also the sale and purchase of firecrackers and other explosives which are illegal under the second schedule parts one and two of the Customs Act, amended by Act Number One of 2005.
The Commissioner General noted that it is important for the GRA to receive the support and cooperation of other stakeholders and the general public, especially with the provision of intelligence information.
He said that if there is a constant flow of intelligence information to the GRA, then the authority’s activities would be more targeted thereby yielding greater results.
A release from the GRA said that the Guyana Defence Force is the only agency authorized to import firecrackers and other explosives and permission must be sought from the Commissioner of Police for the importation of such items.
The enforcement arm of the GRA has an ongoing exercise aimed at monitoring the activities at ports and borders countrywide, and persons found smuggling goods into the country will be prosecuted under section 217 of the Customs Act.
The penalty stipulated is a fine three times the value of the goods or imprisonment of one to three years.
The GRA is therefore informing the public that this penalty is also applicable to persons found selling and/or purchasing firecrackers, which are restricted items.
The Commissioner General noted that the GRA is currently making significant structural adjustments which will certainly improve the efficiency and proficiency with which the organization carries out its function.
He pointed out that the risk profiling component of the Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS) software is aimed at greater efficiency and transparency and other divisions such as the Internal Affairs, Enforcement and Intelligence, and quality review will lend support to the TRIPS as they feed into the system.
Act Number One of 2005 was enacted to protect the health and safety of all Guyanese by ensuring that goods imported meet the basic requirement under the existing laws, are not injurious to health, and at the same time, prevent persons from becoming unknowingly involved in fraudulent activities.
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