JIS News

As the Jamaica Customs Department continues to go through a transitional phase, in the bid to enhance its systems and procedures, a radio programme is set to begin next month, aimed at engaging and educating the public.
Director of Public Relations at the Department, Anneke Rousseau, told JIS News that the programme would “look specifically at customs systems and procedures…and should go a far way in sensitizing and educating the public about how they use the facilities at Customs, and to take questions that they may have and refine and revise our procedures to ensure that it is not a hassle to do business with us”.
Already, mechanisms have been put in place to facilitate e-payment, while the motor vehicle unit has been reorganized to make it more customer service-oriented, and ensure a shorter processing time for entries. “We are getting fewer complaints about the delay in processing entries.we have now been adopting a stricter approach to adhering to our charter standards,” Mrs. Rousseau said.
“We need the public to understand that we are changing things at Customs…its really changing our systems and procedures for the people who use them, so that when you come to Customs, you get excellent service at all times,” she stated.
“We are making high quality service a way of life. We are training persons, revising our procedures and refurbishing our customer service areas,” she added.
Mrs. Rousseau used the opportunity to remind persons that they have until Friday, January 30, to take advantage of the duty-free clearance of barrels, which arrived in the island before December 31.
Meanwhile, this year, Customs Week is being celebrated under the theme: ‘Customs and the Environment: Protecting our National Heritage,’ and a number of activities have been planned to mark the week. The highlight will be a consultation on Customs to be held at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge on Tuesday (Jan. 27), beginning at 9:00am, where Prime Minister, Bruce Golding will be the main speaker.
The forum will bring together stakeholders, shippers, brokers, manufacturers, and exporters to evaluate the work of Customs in the critical areas of border security, service delivery, organisational development, operational efficiency, and building partnerships.
Mrs. Rousseau said the consultation is necessary, as the Department is “in a transition mode and we want to ensure that as we go forward, we take on board the concerns of our main partners and stakeholders, so that we can create the kind of Customs Department that serves them better”.
The annual observance of Customs Week is built around International Customs Day, which is celebrated by all members of the World Customs Organisation on January 26 of each year.
The week of observance, from January 25-31, got underway today with the main church service at the Constant Spring Road Church of God, Kingston, while two others will be held in Montego Bay and St. Ann’s Bay.
On Wednesday (Jan. 28), a Customer Appreciation Day will be staged at all ports of entry, while on Thursday (Jan. 29), there will be a public forum at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, Sam Sharpe Square, beginning at 10:00am, where Commissioner of Customs, Danville Walker will give the main address.

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