The Customs Department at the Sangster International Airport yesterday (Jan. 26) hosted a ‘Customer Appreciation Day’ for arriving passengers, as part of activities to mark International Customs Day.
The occasion saw passengers being treated to refreshment, while being sensitized about the department. “Customers Appreciation Day is an opportunity for the Customs Department to showcase what we do, how we interact with the public and how we apply the laws of the land to situations as we see fit”, said Customs Supervisor Seric Smith. Mr. Smith, who serves as laison between line staff and passengers at the airport, told JIS News that promoting good relations between staff and customers would ensure the smooth running of the department on a daily basis.
Director of Operations at the Sangster international Airport, Densill Sinclair, told JIS News that the Customs Department at the Sangster International Airport dealt directly with the arrival and movement of passenger and cargo. “Passengers are processed by an interview and examination, wherein we ascertain what items are being brought into the country and where necessary, duty is charged on importation. Customs provide a duty-free allowance of US$500 to each returning resident of the country per trip on ordinary household items”, he informed. Mr. Sinclair said that the Customs Department played an integral role in the economy, in terms of collecting revenue and protecting the country’s borders. “Customs is not only a tax collecting agent but we are responsible for border protection and therefore we are security officers in terms of control”, he said.
Duty Officer, Keisha Dixon, who has responsibility of logging incoming and outgoing flights and dispatching staff, said her work was important for the smooth operation of the Customs Department. “As staff here, we all share a good relationship and are good team-players . ensuring that all is going well, because in the long run, if something goes wrong, they won’t say it was Keisha, but the staff at Sangster,” she pointed out.
The Jamaica Customs Department falls under the ambit of the Tax Administration Directorate and is responsible for the collection of custom duties and all other relevant taxes on imports; enforcing import and export prohibitions and restrictions; and examining baggage and cargo to prevent the entry and exit of prohibited and illegal items in addition to the illegal entry of legal goods.
Customs Day is an annual observation of the World Customs Organization (WCO), of which Jamaica is a signatory.
Jamaica planned weeklong series of activities to mark the occasion, started January 22, under the theme: “Safer world trade through security and facilitation”.