There’s no such classification in TT’s laws for anything called “adult toys,” Finance Minister Colm Imbert has said.
The law, Chapter 78:01, Section 45 (l) of the Customs Act, does state, however, among other things, it is prohibited to import “indecent or obscene prints, paintings and photographs, books cards, lithographic and other engravings, gramophone records or any other indecent or obscene articles or matter. “It appears that the relevant section of the law is associated with the words ‘other indecent or obscene articles or matter,’” he said.
Customs officials, as far as he was aware, had been interpreting this section of the law for years and there was “nothing new about this.”
Last week, a courier company, WebSource, sent its customers a notice that items, like “adult toys” would be seized by customs since they were obscene and prohibited items.
“That was a courier company doing its own thing. Why? I don’t know. It has nothing do with customs. There’s been no clamp down by customs, no circular or memoranda issued by customs, no unusual enforcement activity by customs. I have absolutely no idea why this courier company decided to do that. But they made a terrible error because when you look at our customs law there is no such thing as an adult toy,” Imbert said.
He did acknowledge interpretation on what was obscene might be subjective. The actual determination and definition, then, should be left up to a court of law.
“There’s nothing wrong with the law. What needs to be established is if someone had a particular interest of the view that customs is not being correct, they need to address it and make their case,” he said.
But can people still ship “adult toys” into the country?
“What I’m trying to tell you is there is no such category. There is no such classification of 'adult toy'. It does not exist in our customs literature. That’s a figment of somebody’s imagination. It’s sad that in TT that fake news can evolve to have a life of its own and turn into a raging debate,” Imbert said.