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The Jamaica Customs Department will be undertaking a number of activities to celebrate Customs Week from January 21 to 27, under the theme: ‘No to Counterfeiting and Piracy’.
Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, Director of Public Relations at the Customs Department, Anneke Rousseau, said that this year’s theme, “is quite fitting, as there is an increase in the number of persons being arrested for pirated materials as well as the number of counterfeit equipment being seized”.
She indicated that for Customs Week, the department would be focusing on sensitizing the public of the implications of engaging in the malpractice of counterfeiting and piracy.
She further said that on a global level, counterfeiting and piracy accounted for between five and seven per cent of world trade. “It is estimated that approximately 200 jobs are lost each year due to counterfeit and pirated materials,” she added According to Mrs. Rousseau, whilst there was the economic side to counterfeiting and piracy, there was also a health side where persons who used generic drugs, for example, might become exposed to pirated drugs.
“Once we can identify that this product is a counterfeit item, we aim to have the necessary seizure made as well as to inform and educate people of the implications of pirated goods and acquiring counterfeit equipment,” she said.
However, she also noted that based on current legislation, “unless the owner complains and provides the necessary information to the Jamaica Customs Department that will establish the authenticity of a product, we can do nothing”.
Mrs. Rousseau informed that it was necessary for the Caribbean as a region to reflect on how “it deals with the issue of piracy and counterfeiting in order to prevent them from taking root in the Caribbean as we deepen integration”.
“Even as we deepen integration in the region, the issue of counterfeiting and piracy is of utmost importance, because you may find that persons from some countries will want to try and duplicate products that are made, for example, in Trinidad and try to pass it off as original,” she pointed out.
“Counterfeiting is creating a fake good and trying to pass it off as real, for example money. The good is therefore of a substandard quality. Piracy, on the other hand, is where you duplicate a product with the intention of passing it off as being authentic or your original work, including CDs, DVDs and books,” Mrs. Rousseau said.
She pointed out that the week’s activities would begin on Sunday, January 21 with church services in Kingston, Montego Bay and St. Ann.
“The main church service will be held at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Old Hope Road commencing at 9:00 a.m. There will also be services at the St. John’s Methodist Church in Montego Bay and at Christ Church in St. Ann’s Bay,” she informed.
Additionally, on Wednesday, January 24, the Customs Department will be hosting a customer appreciation day at a number of locations in Kingston and Montego Bay, while on Saturday, January 27, the annual Information Fair will be staged. This will see the coming together of various stakeholders to give information to the public as well as to put Customs on show. The fair will facilitate a better understanding of the operations of the Department.
“We will be bringing together about 30 participants spanning financial services, the police, the shipping association, custom brokers and other services to provide information on their operations,” she explained, adding that the fair would culminate with a concert featuring Christopher Martin and Voicemail.