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The Customs and Excise Department has reacted to recent pronouncements in the media suggesting that office was responsible for delaying the stay of a British yachtsman and his wife who were attacked here.

The department has denied claims that customs officials failed to show up for duties on Thursday January 16th and as such were not available to provide clearance for the crew of the yacht magnetic Attraction.

A statement from the Department notes that the yacht did not report to the Customs office in Soufriere on Thursday January 16th for clearance. It adds that the crew however indicated that the vessel would be sailing to Vieux Fort before departure on Saturday January 18th .

The statement claims that Customs officials suggested that clearance be obtained at the office in Vieux Fort on Friday January 17th prior to their departure.

But in a blog post following the fatal attack on the couple, Margaret Prat claims that on Thursday morning the plan was to clear out from Soufriere, then to travel south and use up the 72 hours before we had to be away. But bureaucracy intervened. The Customs and Excise in Soufriere told us that exit had to happen within 24 hours of clearing out; and that anyway, we couldn't clear out of Soufriere that day because the Immigration Officer hadn't come to work(!!)

Efforts by our newsdesk to reach the Comptroller of Customs, Andy Fernlon for comment on the incident as well as what the clearance requirements are were unsuccessful
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