Scratch bombs and the prohibited items list
There are many items that cannot be imported into St Vincent and the Grenadines, some are restricted and others for which one must obtain a special licence or permission to bring them into the country.
Some items are prohibited or restricted because they are deemed unsafe or hazardous, others because they may pose a risk to national security. There are even some items that cannot be legally imported into our country because they are considered to be indecent or obscene and that they will in some way corrupt public morals.
The customs department is diligent in ensuring that these items, including garments made of camouflage fabric; toy guns; pornographic material, sex toys; items associated with witchcraft or obeah do not come into the country, but they seem not to have a problem with some other items which terrorize thousands of Vincentians every year around this time.
Could someone please explain why we allow ‘bandits’ or ‘scratch bombs’ to be imported into St Vincent and the Grenadines for All Souls or Guy Fawkes when we know that their only purpose is to annoy and scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting people as they go about their business? Drivers passing in their vehicles, those walking past certain areas or even people trying to relax in their homes are targeted by irresponsible individuals who take great pleasure in observing the frenzied reactions of their victims.
But the hazardous nature of these items goes beyond annoying and frightening citizens. This was forcefully demonstrated last Friday night when innocent bystanders including at least one child were injured at the Lowmans Leeward and Chauncey cemeteries where these devices were irresponsibly deployed during the traditional lighting of graves of the departed. Some of the injuries were serious enough to merit a visit to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Milton Cato Memorial hospital.
So we ask the question once again, why are these items allowed into the country? Try as we might, we cannot come up with a single useful purpose to which these items can be put. They should be included on the prohibited items list. They certainly are much more of a threat to the public good than some other items firmly inscribed there.