By Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Advance Cargo Information Bill, 2020, was read three times and passed in The National Assembly on Thursday (September 3).
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris while moving the Bill said it provides for the provision of advanced information relating to the cargo and passengers before their arrival here.
“…and to share the information with other states with the view to identifying the cargo and the persons that may pose a risk to security while at the same time, it is intended to facilitate trade through electronic data interchange.”
According to the bill, the person in command of any vehicle, aircraft, vessel, or other machines capable of being used for the transportation of persons or goods by land, air or water shall, prior to the arrival of the vessel in St. Kitts and Nevis, provide cargo and passenger information to the customs officer, assigned or designated by the Comptroller through the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS).
If the vessel’s port of departure does not permit the person in command to provide the information within the time specified, the Comptroller may exempt the person in command from the time requirements, and establish alternative notification arrangements for the vessel.
The person in command of an aircraft or vessel that makes a technical stop shall not be required to provide advance information if the arrival is compelled by any emergency, accident, unfavorable weather conditions, or other necessity.
But, they must immediately report the incident to the Comptroller and the cargo would only be permitted to off-load from the aircraft or vessel if consent is given by the Comptroller.
Operators must also comply with any directions given by the Comptroller in respect of any cargo on board the aircraft or vessel.
The Comptroller may waive the requirements if the vessel is a military or law enforcement aircraft or vessel or on official state business.
Failing to comply with the requirements and arrangements established within the Act results in the person in command of any vehicle, aircraft, vessel or other machines capable of being used for the transportation of persons or goods has committed an offence in violation of this Act and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) or to imprisonment for a term of three (3) years.
The bill would be submitted to the Governor-General, Sir Tapley Seaton for his assent following which it would be gazetted and become law.