JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has received a donation of six gas analysers from the United Kingdom (UK) Border Force, which will be used by customs officers to test the air quality inside containers.
  • The devices, valued at £9,000, were handed over to the JCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Velma Ricketts Walker, by the British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Asif Anwar Ahmad, during a ceremony at the agency’s head office in Kingston on Monday (January 27).
  • The donation was facilitated under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2016.

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has received a donation of six gas analysers from the United Kingdom (UK) Border Force, which will be used by customs officers to test the air quality inside containers.

The devices, valued at £9,000, were handed over to the JCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Velma Ricketts Walker, by the British High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Asif Anwar Ahmad, during a ceremony at the agency’s head office in Kingston on Monday (January 27).

The donation was facilitated under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2016.

Mrs. Ricketts Walker expressed gratitude to the UK Border Force, noting that the JCA has enjoyed a fruitful, long-standing relationship with the entity that continues to grow.

“I am positive that these gas analysers, all six of them, will do well for our agency, for our officers, who will make very good use of these tools,” she said.

She noted that the gas analysers will provide another layer of protection for the officers as they go about their tasks.

“They will enable them to test not only the air quality but have a greater sense of assurance that the area in which they work and operate is of the quality that it should be. So, it will assist us in assessing the containers prior to examination or physical inspection,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Ricketts Walker said that the JCA is taking deliberate and strategic steps to improve border protection by curtailing illicit activities.

She said that the agency is pushing to re-establish the Canine Unit, improve the working environment in which the contraband enforcement team operates, and putting a more robust risk management system in place.

Additionally, she noted that work is under way to expand the marine bases.

“To date, we have looked at Rocky Point, where work has already started. We are moving to Alligator Pond in St. Elizabeth, and we’re currently at Oracabessa in St. Mary as a marine base where we have collaborated with law enforcement to have a unified front in the fight against all illicit items that may come into our island,” she said.

Commissioner Ahmad, for his part, said that Jamaica and the UK have a shared agenda “that is aimed at enabling the carrying out of bonafide trade and personal business without hindrance”.

He said that the gas analysers provided will prove to be worthwhile in ensuring the safety of the customs officers.

The Commissioner pledged the UK’s commitment to continue working with Jamaica to improve border security.

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