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Story Highlights

  • National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, has urged the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) to remain vigilant and up to date on the ingenious methods that traffickers will use to smuggle items into the country.
  • In highlighting the “sophistication” and extent to which traffickers were using the cards, Mr. Montague said the JCA’s interceptions were “worthy to be noted,” and encouraged the agency to “continue on that path.”
  • Full implementation of ASYCUDA is expected to be completed in March 2016. It is being funded through a J$487.84 million (US$4 million) loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, has urged the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) to remain vigilant and up to date on the ingenious methods that traffickers will use to smuggle items into the country.

His call comes against the background of the agency’s seizure of 235 debit and credit cards which were used to convey illicitly acquired cash into Jamaica during the 2015/16 fiscal year.

The Minister was addressing the management and staff at a meeting held at the JCA’s Newport East offices in Kingston on Tuesday, March 29.

In highlighting the “sophistication” and extent to which traffickers were using the cards, Mr. Montague said the JCA’s interceptions were “worthy to be noted,” and encouraged the agency to “continue on that path.”

He also said it was imperative that the Jamaican authorities keep abreast of global trends in order to strengthen border security and reduce the risk and likelihood of contraband slipping into the island.

This, the Minister contended, would contribute to significantly disrupting the narcotics trade and lottery scamming, among other illicit activities.

Meanwhile, Mr. Montague, who was accompanied by State Minister, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., commended the work undertaken by the JCA’s staff over the years in safeguarding Jamaica’s borders.

He cited the introduction of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World System as exemplary.

The ASYCUDA system is a web-based application designed to improve the agency’s efficiency and service delivery.

Mr. Montague said the system’s full implementation, along with other inputs, will simplify the business process for persons and organisations engaged in imports and exports.

“We are very impressed with what we have seen and the seamless collaboration that is there. This system and all the collaborations and partnerships will not only enhance the work of Customs and the collection of revenues and the tabulation of data, it also moves Jamaica forward in terms of being on the same playing field with our trading partners,” he said, adding that “it also ties in with national security and border controls.”

Full implementation of ASYCUDA is expected to be completed in March 2016. It is being funded through a J$487.84 million (US$4 million) loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).