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The Bahamas Customs Department

Role & Mission

The Bahamas Customs Department plays a vital role in the wellbeing and future development of our nation. Their task of collecting revenue for the public treasury is of the utmost importance because it brings in a vast amount of the monies required to run the country. Their mission, in summary, is to collect and protect Customs and other mandated revenue and taxes, and to facilitate legitimate trade.

The Customs Department assists other government agencies by performing duties on their behalf. They collect Stamp Tax on behalf of the Post Office, Departure Tax (both air & sea) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Harbour Dues on behalf of the Port Department, and Container and Landing Fees on behalf of the Ministry of Transport. They also assist The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and The Royal Bahamas Police Force by ensuring importation laws are adhered to in regard to produce, plants and animals, and illegal firearms and illicit drugs.


Collection of Customs in the Bahamas began shortly after the arrival of the first Royal Governor, Sir Woodes Rogers, in 1729. The House of Assembly passed the first revenue bills of the Bahamas on December 6th, 1734. However, an Act to provide for the establishment of a Customs Department dated 21st March, 1914 gave birth to the Customs Department that we now know. It was this same act that commissioned a Comptroller of Customs to manage and administrate this department, supervise officers and ensure revenue collection.

Spanish Wells Branch

The first Customs Office in Spanish Wells was opened in 1993, and at that time Spanish Wells became an official port of entry. Officer Leslie Farqharson was the first officer stationed on the island, beginning his assignment here when the office opened in August of that year. At that time, the office was located in the second storey of the Administration Building, adjacent to Spanish Wells All Age School.

In the final quarter of 1999, the office was relocated to it's present location, a renovated building close by the public dock which also includes a warehouse. This is a prime location, and is well situated to handle the  traffic that enters the harbour that requires assistance from Customs in various ways.

Over the years, Spanish Wells has had the privilege of having many dedicated officers from the Customs Department serve in our community. Their valuable service has not gone unnoticed. A list of these officers and their dates of service conclude this review.

Leslie Farquharson ....... August 1993 - June 1996

Ken Flowers ............... June 1996 - January 1998

Enith Simms ............... January 1998 - January 2000

James Albury .............. January 2000 - July 2005

Nathan Butler ............. July 2005 - December 2007

Carl Rahming .............. December 2007 - present (photo below)


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