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Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker, says that investment in the growth and development of the country’s human capital is critical to improving productivity and increasing revenue.
Speaking at the closing of a four-week training course for members of the Customs Contraband Enforcement Team held today (Sept.17) at the Jamaica Police Academy in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, Mr. Walker said a lack of resources is no excuse to ignore the advancement of Jamaica’s human resources.
“The bottom line is that if you make the investment, you will have more resources,” he posited.
Some 29 customs officers participated in the training course, which was organised in collaboration with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and aimed to improve the efficiency of the Jamaica Customs Department in executing its border protection mandate. Areas covered included critical incident management, criminal intensive/strategic search, tactical firearms, and case preparation.
Mr. Walker said the training marks the start of a “remarkable journey” for the customs officers and the department. “What you see here today is an investment. We are investing in you so as to reap a greater reward later on,” he told the graduates.
He pointed to the need for more investment in modern and appropriate technology for the Customs Department, which he said, contributes more than $100 billion a year to the country’s coffers.
Such investment, he said, would increase revenue collection and stem the flow of illegal weapons and other contraband into the island.
Mr. Walker also called for greater collaboration and partnership between the Customs Department and the JCF, particularly in the area of border protection.
“We face a common enemy together,” he noted. “Therefore, every action that we take to bring the (organisations) together – not just at the leadership level, but even at the rank and file level – where we can work with more synergy, with more co-ordination and sharing of intelligence, will make us that much stronger together,” he stated. “Together we are stronger, separately, they will defeat us,” he added.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Fritz Pinnock, who gave the keynote address, congratulated the graduands on their achievement. He urged them to not see the completion of the course as a destination, but as the beginning of the journey towards greater accomplishments.
“You are now in a world that calls for new skill sets, new resources.life is about continuous lifelong learning and improvement,” he remarked.
In the meantime, he called on the various law enforcement and border control organisations, including the Customs Department, JCF and the Coast Guard, to take advantage of the expertise and resources available at the CMI.
“We (CMI) are the only certified International Maritime Organisation (IMO) training institution white-listed in the Caribbean. We are among the top 15 training institutions in the world recognised by the IMO and yet we are under-utilised,” he said.
Mr. Pinnock said there was a number of world class equipment at the CMI that could be utilised by these organisations.