JIS News

Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker, has supported the decision to convert the department into an Executive Agency, but is concerned about the direction of the current agencies.
“My position is, I fully support the idea of Customs becoming an Executive Agency. In fact, when I was making a decision in my mind to come to Customs, it was the single most attractive proposition put to me, not the salary. To be a part of an organisation so desirous of change, that they would take that step, I found that encouraging,” Mr. Walker explained.
However, he warned against trying to make Executive Agencies operate in the same mould as the rest of the public sector. He said that this would recreate the problems which they had faced in central Government. He made the comments during an interview with JIS News, following a public forum staged by the Jamaica Customs Department, in the Montego Bay Civic Centre in St. James, on Thursday January 29. The forum forms part of the activities organised in observance of Customs Week, January 25 to 31.
Mr. Walker suggested that, in the crafting of Customs into an Executive Agency, it was necessary to examine what were the tools Customs needed to redefine and reorient itself, which were primarily human resource issues.
He explained that there were different models of Executive Agencies, and it would appear that the general belief in Jamaica was that becoming an Executive Agency means that the agency is off the Government’s budget.
But, he said that such a belief narrowed the understanding of the concept, as there are Executive Agencies fully funded by the Government.
“What you need to look at is what is the particular problem that you need to solve, and create the Executive Agency, with the tools, abilities and strengths, that addresses the problems plaguing Customs. A lot of these problems are about compensation, attracting the right people, disciplinary issues, accountability and setting goals and benchmark for the staff, which is very difficult to do through the central Government system”, he pointed out.
The Commissioner expressed the hope that the Customs Department would become an Executive Agency within the year.

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