Monday, September 21, 2015

Lessons as a Returning Resident to Jamaica

I had the eye-opening experience of returning to Jamaica as a returning resident after four years as an immigrant. After studying my PhD in Canada, my family and I acquired a lot of stuff, many of which we parted with, but others we sought to take back with us.

Our return to Jamaica our homeland was greeted by a money-grabbing system. Instead of the government granting us concessions to come back and help build the country with our acquired experience and knowledge, they made it clear through their institutionalized extortion practices that they do not really want us back. We had to pay for our two Canadian born children to get the right to Jamaican citizenship. Next, we had to pay a huge amount of money to the Jamaican Government to collect our used personal items and stuff (clothing) and a few toiletries and other personal care products, books, documents and stationery that we took back with us. Not to mention the one bed we bought and the other bed that a Canadian church brother gave us a mattress for.

This experience caused my firstborn to reflect and deliver a powerful insight into the injustice of our government custom taxation system. As my wise firstborn put it, paying custom and duties on stuff you return to your own country with is like: the government taking your stuff away from you and “selling them back to you. It isn't fair."

My firstborn is right. The injustice also includes double taxation. While paying for stuff in Canada, I already paid taxes, and any further customs and duties to bring them back with me amounts to paying taxes twice for the right to own or use stuff.

Worse, the system is set up for the ignorant to err and end up paying the dues. You are blamed for not doing your research and not checking the Website. The fault is on you to educate yourself. No brochure is given to persons leaving the island through the airport. 

I am so glad that the God that I serve does not operate like that, but permits us the freedom to use the stuff he created according to our own pleasure, while making us know his standards and expectations. He also institutes a system that if we err, he can erase our errors and remove the blame from being on us for our faults and errors. With Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement nigh, through this experience, I get to recognize how better God's systems are than extortionist national governments.

Mark you, my government is not entirely to be blamed. After all, it follows the extortionist and oppressive principles of the International Monetary Finance (distortion intended) system that lends money to national governments to make them indebted while advocating neo-liberal principles that do more harm than good.

It is the oppression by unjust governance and systems that enables one to appreciate the Kingdom of God. Governments and systems that want you to err and do not care if you err, in order to exact a penalty from you. Governments and systems that want you to pay for the right to use stuff that they did not create. Government and systems that want you to pay for human rights like the rights to live in a territory or call a geographic location home. Governments and systems that rent you stuff that they do not create themselves.

My advice to any Jamaican going overseas for a period of time is to document what you are taking with you out of the island and show/declare it to Jamaican Customs at the airport before you go. Finally, my advice to you all is to realize that the economic and political systems (the kingdoms) of this world will be supplanted by the kingdom that the prophet Daniel saw in his vision. Until then, apply for your citizenship in that kingdom before God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit stop issuing visas for it.

See below some relevant questions and answers that I copied from the Jamaica Customs Website:

Why am I charged duty on used clothing which my relatives send from abroad?

All items of clothing are dutiable, whether they are new or used. The duty charged is calculated on the total of the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value for the items.

Rating:Rating Star Views: 12725 Date Added: 2009-02-12 11:20:08
Category: Duties , General 

Is it customary to charge duty on my personal items e.g. cameras and cellular phones, which I take with me on my trips abroad?

Customs can charge duty on these items if they exceed your duty free allowance, and there is no proof that these items were in your possession on your outbound journey. One way of providing this proof is by declaring these items to Customs Duty office at the airport proir to departure of your flight.

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