Basseterre, St. Kitts – Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr. Timothy Harris announced last week that a new phone app will allow the public to alert officials on possible illegal activity within the Customs and Excise Department.
“Within the next week, I am advised, [the department] will be employing an added touch to new technology,” Harris said. “They will have an app [available] in the Google Playstore where our citizens can anonymously provide tips to Customs and can express any concerns they may have about an officer’s behaviour.”
He explained that the app would be used to report wrong doing among customs officers as well as providing commendation to the department.
“So, if you think they are allowing the revenue to get away to their friends and neighbours, then we will now have an app in which you can report [anonymously],” he said. “If you think they are doing other wrong things, the app also will suffice for that; and if you think they are doing a wonderful job, we also want you to use the app to extend commendation.”
Harris indicated that rewards may also be offered if the information provided leads to the successful prosecution of any law enforcement official.
“We want to appeal to all with information or concerns regarding any law enforcement officer in our police, defense force, coast guard, our prisons and customs and excise to share that information or concern,” Harris said.. “Information leading to the successful prosecution of any dishonest law enforcement officer will be rewarded.”
He indicated this measure had been taken to enhance the integrity of law enforcement agencies.
“The reason is simple,” he said. “Those who are charged with protecting us cannot be the same ones who are undermining the integrity of the system and, by extension, exposing their co-workers and the civilian population to danger and harm. We have to put a stop to this.”
It was just a little more than a month ago when two customs officers, Karim Maynard and Romain Tota, were among four people charged with the importation of an illegal firearm. Maynard was arrested, formally charged and cautioned for the offences of conspiracy to import an illegal firearm (one firearm barrel), one magazine and a quantity of a vegetable material (cannabis). He was also charged with 11 violations of the Customs Act. Tota was arrested, formally charged and cautioned for the offences of conspiracy to import an illegal firearm (one firearm barrel), one magazine and a quantity of a vegetable material (cannabis). He was also charged with seven violations of the Customs Act.