The World Customs Organization (WCO) has over 177 Customs Administration members of which Bahamas Customs has been a member since 1974 and has benefited from technical expertise and advice. Gregory Jones, Assistant Comptroller of Customs with responsibility for the Grand Bahama District, said “This year we will celebrate our International Customs Day, under the theme “A Secure Business Environment for Economic Development. “According to the World Customs Organization Secretariat, ‘secure’ means an environment that is enabling, safe, fair and sustainable, all wrapped into one. “Members of the WCO are encouraged to look at how they can create an environment for businesses that will foster their participation in cross-border trade, and ultimately, how they can best serve the people, and empower entrepreneurs.”
In Grand Bahama, the Customs Department will host the 3rd Northern Bahamas Long Service Awards and World Customs Organization Certificate of Merit Awards Ceremony, which will be held on Wednesday 24th January 2018, at 7pm at A Social Affair Convention Center off East Sunrise Highway, Freeport, Grand Bahama. Among invited guests will be Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, and Comptroller of Customs Dr. Geanine Moss.
Topping the list for World Customs Organization Certificate of Merit Awards 2018 are:
Chief Customs Revenue Officer – Deborah Bootle
Cashier – Joan Scott
Topping the list of 16 Officers and Non-Uniformed Staff who will be honored for long service:
Senior Customs/Revenue Officer – Pamela Williams – 30 years
Senior Customs/Revenue Officer – Miriam Fernander – 30 years
Senior Customs/Revenue Officer – Renia Predelus – 30 years
Senior Customs/Revenue Officer – Carnetta Farrington – 30 years
Senior Customs/Revenue Officer – Robert Julian – 30 years
Senior Customs/Revenue Officer – Linda Brown – 30 years
Customs/Revenue Officer II – Ellarese Thompson
Customs/Revenue Officer II – Terence Ferguson
Customs/Revenue Officer II – Verdell Russell
Senior Customs Guard – Herbert Rahming
Senior Executive Officer – Cheryl Whymns
Executive Officer – Ann Francis – 30 years
Chief Registry Clerk – Gwendolyn Henfield – 30 years
Customs/Revenue Officer I – 20 years Janell Heild
Customs/Revenue Officer I – 20 years Keva Powell –Williams
Telephonist I – 20 years
Other activities will include: 28th January – Church Service at Calvary Temple, Clive Avenue at 10am.
Jan. 29th – Feb. 2nd — A Customs Digital Exhibition will be held in the foyer of C. A. Smith Complex from 10am – 3pm.
16th February – Customs Staff will engage in Community Services by donating cleaning supplies and provide lunch and interact with the Senior Citizens at Home Away from Home Center for the Aged, located on 30 Amberjack Street, Caravel Beach between 11am – 2pm.
19th February – second community service will be at the Genesis Academy Trip Circle between 11am – 11pm where some of the male officers will assist with mentoring the young men there, and Customs Revenue Officer II Wenito Bootle will give a brief motivational speech. Other visits will follow.
“To ensure that our staff speaks with one voice as they relate to the customs laws we will engage our staff in seminars and frequent briefings,” said Assistant Comptroller Jones.
“Further, to enhance our relationship with our stakeholders, particularly, the couriers and licensees, we will commence with two fora and others as needed.
“February 28th, 2018 – Sessions for Couriers and Shipping & Airline Agents, Customs Brokers, 4pm-6pm, Room #3 C.A. Smith Complex.
“March 1st, 2018 – Session with licensees who are Contractors, Manufacturers/or Custom’s Brokers associated with them.
Mr. Jones noted: “According to the WCO Secretariat, Evidence-based research, recognized internationally, clearly shows that Customs can contribute to making the business environment more ”enabling”, or in other words, more stable and predictable by, for example, streaming procedures, tackling corruption, enhancing, integrity and facilitation of legitimate trade.”
Mr. Jones said Bahamas Customs is also mindful of the need to ensure safety within the business environment. “But some threats come from within the trade itself, such as the shipment of illicit goods, invoice fraud and smuggling of goods into the country to evade customs and taxes.
“Despite some of the challenges, concerns, and criticisms that may come from our stakeholders, the Customs Department remains committed to resolving problems that may arise. After all, we want to partner with our stakeholders to ensure that customs laws, regulations and policies are explained and understood before implementation,” he stated.
He concluded: “On behalf of the Comptroller of Customs, the Executive team and entire staff of Grand Bahama and Walker’s Cay, we take this opportunity to thank all of our stakeholders including members of the public for their support and the media for their presence and coverage of this occasion and the other activities to follow.”
Mr. Jones also offered special thanks to the committee that is responsible for organizing the Customs International Day Celebrations namely:
Chief Customs Revenue Officers Marsha Stubbs
Customs/Revenue Officer II Equianna Johnson
Customs/Revenue Officer II Keva Dames
Customs/Revenue Officer II Latonia Cash
Trainee Customs/Revenue Officer Alexander Burrows II
Senior Accounts Clerk, Monique Rampersad,
Register Clerk Karon Deveaux
Assistant Cashier Claudine Lightbourne
“Once again we thank all of you and we pray that 2018 be a great year for the Customs Department and our stakeholders,” he said.