JIS News

The Jamaica Customs Department is reporting an increase in the amount of illegal imports seized at the island’s ports of entry for this year, in comparison to the previous year.
Public Relations Manager for Jamaica Customs, Naomi Goulbourne-Rodney told JIS News that for this year, there were some nine seizures for cocaine weighing six kilograms and valued at $9.2 million. There were nine ganja seizures weighing approximately 198 kilograms and valued at $78.9 million. This is in addition to two seizures of hashish weighing approximately 410 kilograms and valued at $196.5 million and two seizures of other drugs.
Meanwhile, there were two seizures of 21 firearms, including a massive weapon find on November 8 of this year. For ammunition, there were four seizures of 232 rounds. The Customs Official said of the 25 cases, 29 arrests have been made so far, but noted that no arrests had been made for the November find as investigations were still being carried out.
“For the November find no arrests have been made to date, the police are still doing their investigations. They have some good leads but they have not made any arrests as yet,” she said.
Last year there were two seizures of cocaine weighing some .34 kilogram and valued at $663,000, 12 seizures of ganja weighing 227.1 kilograms and valued at $75.4 million. For hashish, there was one seizure of 14.5 kilograms valued at $8.2 million. For other drugs there were no seizures.
Noting that the “seizures for this year were significantly higher”, Mrs. Goulbourne-Rodney said the work of the contraband enforcement team should be commended, adding that the Unit’s success could be credited to the fact that more staff members have been added.
In the meantime, the Department is urging members of the importing public to be on alert as the busy yuletide season gets into high gear.
Travellers are also being encouraged to ascertain the contents of their luggage and be knowledgeable of the contents of shipments being made to them, so as to minimize delays when conducting business at the ports. “Be on the alert; be sure of the contents of your luggage if you are travelling. If things are being sent to you, you need to know what is in the shipment so that you can declare it to customs and have your proper documents on hand,” she urged. She warned that a lack of proper information on the part of importers could mean delay. “The more you know is the more you are able to get through your business with us in a timely manner and you help us as well if you are informed,”Mrs. Goulbourne-Rodney said. In the meantime, the Department has also been making an effort to pass on tips to importers through the media.
She pointed out that the Department would be increasing its vigilance during the busy Christmas season and would be providing additional staff, where necessary.
“With the rush on we have to endeavour to be more alert and boost staff where necessary, and Customs is always ready to give additional staff where needed,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Department is inviting members of the public to make their queries to its public relations customer service unit at 1888-customs or 922-7618, or 922 -5140-9 ext.233 or 232 or visit its website at www.jacustoms.gov.jm or email them at public.relations@jacustoms.gov.jm.