Barbados Customs apply Rule of Law to Simon Cowell – he’s “miffed”

Cowell shells out £100 extra duty on Sapporo beer

The Sun says that Simon Cowell was “a bit miffed” that Barbados Customs made him pay duty on ten cases of Sapporo beer last Tuesday. Mr. Cowell enjoys yeast-free Sapporo beer and it’s not available in Barbados so he brought some with him on his executive jet.

Fair enough. We can see Mr. Cowell’s side of things.  He spends a small fortune every time he visits the island and he helps keep many folks employed, so he sees £100 as nit-picky. His jet will fill up with thousands of dollars of fuel and he’ll pay far more than £100 in fuel taxes and service fees alone and that’s just his airplane arriving. Mr. Cowell thinks, “Why are you bothering me with this?”

We at Barbados Free Press understand Mr. Cowell’s point of view. For truth most Bajans wouldn’t be too unhappy (or surprised) if the Customs people had of looked the other way for Mr. Cowell. For truth it has probably happened before with him, but we never hear about those times.

Bajans want Mr. Cowell to know that we appreciate his business and his love of Barbados. Folks are aware that he does many good works in Barbados – most of the time very quietly. People ’bout hey know that side of Mr. Cowell, and we respect him for helping others for no reason other than the goodness of his heart.


Here is the problem with Mr. Cowell complaining about having to pay £100 duty on his beer.

We have this little problem with Rule of Law in Barbados: we generally don’t have it. In practically every area of our society we have two laws: one for the rich and/or connected, and another law for the rest of us.

Bajans see this from the time they can walk and it has held back our society in many ways. When the law is applied differentially according to class (which used to be “race” but is now more about money and connections) it breeds disrespect for the law and animosity between communities.

Can you imagine in this moment in history that uniformed officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force would be afraid to enter a gated community to answer a wife-beating call – because the community is primarily rich and white? It happens.

That kind of nonsense is programmed right into our culture and it’s so difficult to break when rich folks demand one law for themselves and another for everyone else.

There’s not a person on this island who would expect to arrive in the United Kingdom with ten cases of beer and not have to pay duty, so why should it be any different for Mr. Cowell when he arrives in Barbados? Of course, it might be that Mr. Cowell wasn’t “miffed” at all and the Sun is just making something out of a normal duty payment.

We’re rather proud of the Customs Officers who nicked Simon Cowell for the proper duty because it gives us hope that someday in the future – maybe, just maybe – there might be one law for all on this rock.

And if Mr. Cowell wants to meet us tomorrow night (Friday) at Marcia’s Place in Oistins, we’ll buy him dinner and all the beer he wants. We’ll be there at 7pm. Fuh true!

Further Reading

The Sun: Simon Cowell stung for £100 in Barbados

Thanks to The Sun for the photo of Simon Cowell and his Sapporo Light (Light? uggghhhhh!)


Filed under Barbados, Celebrities, Corruption, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Race

24 responses to “Barbados Customs apply Rule of Law to Simon Cowell – he’s “miffed”

  1. X

    Just to clarify – the person in Millenium who beat his wife was neither white nor particularly rich. He was a middle class indo-Trini banker.

    On the duties at the airport, my contention is that it is not worth what I would guess is pretty small amounts of duties collected, to justify the costs of enforcing this. Not to mention the fact that duty collection at the discretion of customs officers in this setting breeds corruption. This corruption remains very evident by the continued work-to-rule program being conducted at the airport in protest of the video cameras. This story remains uncovered by the traditional local media AND by the blogs. It is shameful that all these tourists, at such a difficult time for the touism industry, are being subjected to such action. What kind of first impression does it leave when gruff customs officers jack up incoming tourists.

    Now the naysayers will probably suggest that going into the US as a Bajan is not pleasant and my response is that the US has the luxury of treating tourists poorly – we in Barbados are too dependent on tourism to take a similar attitude.

  2. WTF!

    actually Saporo beer is available in Barbados

  3. just telling

    WTF!, where you get Saporo Light in Bim? Just asking. M’be I’ll try it!

  4. Responder

    I contribute to Barbados too. May I bring in my 50 inch LED without taxes?. What next will we ignore because he is a tourist and contributes. I love tourists but there are rules to follow.

  5. Mike Webster

    Seems to me that ten (10) cases of beer are a bit much for a Customs Officer, in Barbados, the U.K, USA, St. Lucia, Grenada, New Zealand, Egypt, Canada….to exercise his/her discreationery authority and not charge duty.

    Without fear of contradiction, I am positive that Mr. Cowell would want to defer to any Customs Officer in the reasonable execution of his/her duties.

    Perhaps, the Minister of Finance could provide the Customs & Excise Department with the appropriate regulations to permit persons of Mr. Cowell’s standing, an exemption in such circumstances. The obligatory pre-flight flight alert would allow for smooth, efficient processing.

  6. Am i missing a point here what has, why has this got into the press or why was the story leaked to the press in all my days i have never seen a press officer in the customs area and how much was the in former paid .

  7. Observing

    He could have bough them at Searles….

  8. 88

    But why are we levying duty at all? If you now fly into the EU you waltze right past the customs officer and wave. They figured out that it costs more to collect customs duties than is actually brought in, and not hassling folks at the airport or port is good for tourism. Clearly customs isn’t preventing the importation of drugs at the customs desk at GAIA, that happens behind the scenes. Other than inflating the public expenditure by employing people doing not much, there seems little point in maintaining a customs regime at the level of private folks entering the island.

  9. Green Monkey

    According to X: “the US has the luxury of treating tourists poorly”.

    Apparently not so much any more:

    US Response To Massive Decline In Foreign Travelers: Keep Crazy Policies, But Set Up Ad Campaign

    from the uh,-yeah dept

    Sometimes it feels like the US government likes to take incompetence to new levels. It should come as little surprise that foreign tourism to the US is way down. Basically ever since the Patriot Act, visiting the US has become a huge pain for foreign tourists, and with our lovely new “we see you naked or we touch your private parts” strategy for airline passengers (thank you, TSA), it appears that things are getting even worse. So, if you’re the US government, how do you respond? Do you start thinking about modifying such policies to make visiting the US less unwelcoming? Do you start thinking about more effective, but less insulting security procedures? Do you start looking at why those foreign tourists are staying away in droves? The answer appears to be no, no and no.

    Instead, you set up a “public/private partnership” to launch an expensive ad campaign and you fund part of it by charging those very tourists to enter the country.

  10. Responder

    Every tourist who comes to these shores I welcome them with open arms. Mr. Cowell is in a position to pay for his imported beers. Whats the big deal. If he was insulted by our personnel then that person should be reprimanded. Case closed.

  11. security or less money?

    Tens of millions of living breathing human beings lost their livelihood over the past several years directly as a result of deregulated and unsupervised financial markets, completely made in the U.S., and, in particular sub-prime loans and an unregulated derivative market. Clico is just a caribbean example of this short term versus long term strategy where the little guy picks up the tab while a few unscrupulous and “ethically challenged ” individuals legally steal from the system.

    There is less money in circulation and fewer jobs. The TSA in the US has gone “over the top” at the expense of visitors but nothing has been more deadly to traveling than the world wide credit crunch.

  12. PrettyPolly

    Which is the factor which may upset the esteemed Mr Cowell more, is it;

    a) The fact that he had to pay 100 quid to get his booze in (and yes you really can get the awful stuff from Searles)
    b) The fact that his US$20 million villar at the Four Seasons has been caught up in the Cinnammon 88 debacle and is running at least 2 years behind schedule?

    Your answers on a postcard addressed to
    His Royal Bloody Highness
    Sir Simon Cowell
    Sandy Lane Hotel

  13. ellebee

    Most celebrities want to be treated better than John Public but this is government business and rules are rules and if the money is not the issue, which obviously it isn’t, then Mr. Cowell should just stop whining ang making ripples.

  14. observing

    And the story is….?????

    man comes in with more beer than could be normally attributed to personal use.

    Customs officer charges duty

    Man pays duty

    Man takes beer and goes home.

    Man not pleased to give Uncle Frundel his money.

    anything here unusual? Nope, just another day at the airport.

  15. Duppy Lizard

    Wunnah all meking a mountain outa a mole hill – lef de man lone.

  16. Responder

    Are you for real Duppy Lizard. Mr. Cowell drew first blood when he complained to the’ Sun’. So what foolishness you talking about.

  17. Hi every one needs give a little on this no where did it say he poke to the sun , yes it may be awful but if you have an allergy to yeast what r u to do, also non yeast is not alcoholic beer and i thought that is what the duty is on the alcohol content , i am not surprise you give the same shit to rhi rhi .

  18. Responder

    Ok, Kyle Boyce, I will give a little and say that I welcome Mr. Cowell to our shores and wish him a merry christmas. Hope one day he will share some of this beer with me.

  19. Thank responder i am a home boy too , we need to be like the indians pull together and all eat out of one pot , back biting aint going to help us , they is an old saying the people that pull together stay together , you too have a very nice xmas and have a glass of of mauby for me may god bless you and all your kin folks .

  20. Responder

    And all the best to you, Kyle.

  21. Justice101

    These white people come here and think because they have money and look at us as a third world country populated by ignorant niggers no one can tell them anything. Well kudos to the Barbados Customs for putting their foot down . I t is not very often that they do this as white people pass through our airport daily carrying God knows what without a second glance from our customs officers but they harass the poor black bajan who went to New York for two weeks and brought back clothes for his family. It is encouraging to see not all customs officers practice double standards but I still think the customs department is the most corrupt Government department there is department and needs investigating

  22. ninemikemike

    Nice to see that Bim still has its fair share of racists, Injustice101. What on earth do you do for a living that that chip on your shoulder doesn’t get in the way?

  23. Pingback: Big plates and smiles at Marcia’s Place, Oistins, Barbados | Barbados Free Press

  24. 197

    Barbados is a very racist place in the world. Toxic and ignorant. We all poo, bleed and die the same. I need a beer.