JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Customs Agency has been lauded for its customs processes by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, who today, paid a courtesy call on the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, at the offices of the Ministry.
  • The country will further be used by the WCO as a model for other Caribbean countries as it rolls out its push for regional integration and drive on security matters, Mr. Mikuriya said.
  • The Secretary General was addressing a courtesy meeting attended by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw; Minister of Industry, Commerce and Agriculture (MICAF), Karl Samuda and Transport and Mining Minster, Lester Michael (Mike) Henry; Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker, as well as representatives of the Ministry of National Security.

The Jamaica Customs Agency has been lauded for its customs processes by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, who today, paid a courtesy call on the Honourable Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, at the offices of the Ministry.

The country will further be used by the WCO as a model for other Caribbean countries as it rolls out its push for regional integration and drive on security matters, Mr. Mikuriya said.

The Secretary General was addressing a courtesy meeting attended by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw; Minister of Industry, Commerce and Agriculture (MICAF), Karl Samuda and Transport and Mining Minster, Lester Michael (Mike) Henry; Commissioner of Customs, Velma Ricketts Walker, as well as representatives of the Ministry of National Security.

This is the first visit by a WCO Secretary General to Jamaica. The officials discussed several key issues relating to Jamaica’s Customs Department and its role in trade facilitation, revenue collection and the safety and security of citizens.

Jamaica is seen as the leading Caribbean territory in the field of customs services, Mr. Mikuriya told the gathering adding his agency further wishes to use Jamaica as a “model” for other countries as the region strives to improve customs processes.

“I intend to work closely with the Jamaican Customs Agency to make sure that they will be a showcase in this region,” Mikuriya said.

He continued: “We increased the number of our experts that we send to this country because I feel this country has a great potential.”

Minister Shaw was pleased by the views expressed by Mr. Mikuriya.

The country stands ready to be used as a model even as it works to further enhance systems, Minister Shaw told the meeting.

“We are committed to change, for efficiency, security and revenue,” Minister Shaw said.

Noting that trade is the driving force behind economic development, Mr. Mikuriya also emphasized the need for keen attention to security.

“Without security you can’t collect revenue. The issue has become very important,” he said.

Additionally, the WCO has stepped up its efforts to actively engage Caribbean countries toward improving the Customs processes of the region.

“We are about to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CARICOM. The WCO is now trying to get more regional communities to use its systems to ensure connectivity,” Mr. Mikuriya said.

He continued: “What I’m doing is talking to more regional communities to make sure that they use our standard to ensure connectivity inside and outside of that community,” he said.

He said” “The Caribbean area is my next focus and your country is the leader in Caribbean.”

Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Ricketts Walker said Jamaica has been a member of the WCO since 1963 and benefitted significantly from technical assistance and capacity building.

She said the country has used the tools and standards of the WCO despite the fact that some of these standards, by their requirements, speak more to first world countries.

“We are not daunted by this,” Ricketts Walker said adding that Jamaica Customs has worked tirelessly to integrate the practices into its operations.

She continued: “We are now looking at their anti-corruption guidelines and their harmonized customs procedures. If we want to move to a modern customs agency applying international best practices, then the WCO sets the lead for that.”

The World Customs Organization:

Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the WCO was established in 1952 as the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) and is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.

Today, the WCO represents 181 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community.