JIS News

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  • The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) says it has a response plan in place to deal with the possible entry of diseases, such as the deadly Ebola virus.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JCA, Major Richard Reese, told JIS News that in addition to implementing a response plan early, the agency also acquired several protective gear, including Hazmat suits.
  • He said that additionally, a team from the Ministry of Health held sensitization sessions with staff at the JCA, and continuous risk analysis of incoming vessels are done in light of crew changes.

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) says it has a response plan in place to deal with the possible entry of diseases, such as the deadly Ebola virus.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JCA, Major Richard Reese, told JIS News that in addition to implementing a response plan early, the agency also acquired several protective gear, including Hazmat suits.

“We were able to lend gear to various agencies and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to facilitate training,” Major Reese said, noting that the JCA was the first agency of Government to acquire such items, despite the high cost.

He said that additionally, a team from the Ministry of Health held sensitization sessions with staff at the JCA, and continuous risk analysis of incoming vessels are done in light of crew changes.

“We monitor the arrival of vessels and we look at the ports of call before, so we do our own risk analysis prior to arrival of these vessels,” Major Reese said.

In the meantime, he said the JCA has had several successful seizures of illegal items brought into the island, such as cigarettes and mosquito coils. He noted that over the Christmas holiday, the JCA confiscated a number of illegal firecrackers and rockets.

“We will never ever prevent smuggling; we’ll always seek to mitigate it, so it’s a two-pronged approach…try to prevent it being imported and at the same time doing our street operations,” Major Reese said.

He noted that in regard to the seizure of illicit cigarettes, the JCA has received tremendous support from the Organized Crime Investigation Division (OCID) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and from the local cigarette manufacturing companies.

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