I am really surprised that no one is openly complaining about the rates Customs charges us for duties pertaining to various items brought into Saint Lucia. I am not even talking about a large number of items, but just a few things here and there… particularly food items and toys for children. I ordered some items the other day and almost passed out when I saw what I was required to pay in duties.
There are some countries where people can order things, and bring them in duty free, but not here. For a while I thought the introduction of companies with foreign addresses would make things easier for Saint Lucians who wanted to purchase items that are not readily available here, but that is definitely not the case. The companies themselves have reasonable rates, but customs really kills things with the duties they charge for items including clothing, food items, and even toys for children. What gets me is that they always claim that the customs officers use their “discretion”, because, if you’re going to use your discretion for some, then you need to do so for all. If you’re going to charge me an arm and a leg, I would hope that every other person is being charged an arm and a leg too.
I guess people with money to blow won’t really complain about this as it doesn’t really affect them, and some of the bigger companies have concessions, so it’s the rest of us regular people that have to find the money to pay whatever charges come up. I hope one day things will change here, so people are not made to feel like criminals for shopping on their trips overseas, as they come back to the scrutiny of local officers. I hope one day too, that people can order the things they need, and not feel like they need to abandon their items once they arrive here because of the exorbitant cost to clear them. It is our hard earned money that we are spending, and we deserve to be able to bring in the things we need (which most times are not available here) at a more reasonable rate.
– Dissatisfied Shopper