Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest on Wednesday applauded the work of Customs Officers being honored in special ceremonies and noted they were appreciated for their years of dedication and sacrifice. The 3rd Northern Bahamas Long Service Awards and World Customs Organization Certificate of Merit Awards Ceremony was held at A Social Affair, where officers serving 30 and 20 years were recognized for their contribution. Two employees: Chief Customs/Revenue Officer, Mrs. Deborah Bootle; and Cashier, Mrs. Joan Scott, were also awarded the World Customs Organization-Certificate of Merit Award 2018. The honorees, he said, have given their time and careers to advancing the Department to where it is. “Tonight, we are here to celebrate and honor these distinguished men and women who have given significantly of their time, their careers, and their youthful energy to forwarding this Department to the level of professionalism that we enjoy today.”
The Deputy Prime Minister noted that most of the honorees served in various capacities in the Department and in different locations during their tenure with great sacrifice to themselves and their families. “We know, that as a government, we could never adequately compensate them for that and so the least we can do is to recognize and honor them for that sacrifice.” He said he was pleased to participate in the event to show appreciation to the officers, as a citizen of the country, but as also the representative of the government with responsibility for the Department of Customs, to let them know how much their service to the country is appreciated. Also addressing the gathering was Comptroller of Customs, Dr. Geanine Moss who said those being honored have completed a lifetime of service to the Customs Department. “All of you are worthy of these accolades as you have weathered the many storms at Customs over these many long years. Twenty years is a long time, 30 years on any job today is a phenomenal feat. Your dedication, commitment and persistence have led to a better organization.”
Stating that the Department has a bright future, Dr. Moss added, “Your shoulders are the shoulders that our young officers have to climb onto to propel this Department forward. Uplift them, motivate them and they will be able to glean from your experiences and thrust forward. “They are the new technological era. We are the voice of wisdom. In order to develop economically, changes must come. This Department has begun its metamorphosis and as the business environment grows, we have to be ready.” Dr. Moss noted that because of the honorees, the Department is ready for any changes that may come and said they were all deserving of being honored. Those honored for 30 years were: Senior Customs/Revenue Officers Pamela Williams, Miriam Fernander, Reina Predelus, Carneta Farrington, Robert Julien and Linda Brown. Customs/Revenue Officers II Ellarese Thompson, Terrance Ferguson and Verdell Russell were also recognized. Senior Customs Guard Herbert Rahming; Senior Executive Officer, Cheryl Whymns; Executive Officer, Ann Francis; and Chief Registry Clerk, Gwendolyn Henfield were also honored for 30 years of service. Jannell Hield and Keva Powell-Williams, Customs/Revenue Officers I, along with Denise Rolle, Telephonist I were all recognized for 20 years of service.
The theme for the celebration is, “A Secure Business Environment for Economic Development” and will include other events such as a church service on Sunday at Calvary Temple on Clive Avenue at 10 am.A Customs Digital Exhibition will be held from Monday, January 29 to Wednesday, January 31 in the foyer of the C.A. Smith Complex from 10 am to 3 pm. On February 16, Customs staff will engage in a community service activity by donating cleaning supplies to the senior citizens at the Home Away from Home Centre for the Aged on Amberjack Street in Caravel Beach. While there from 11 am to 2pm, they will also provide lunch and interact with the residents. Some of the male officers will mentor the young men at Genesis Academy, Trip Circle, on February 19 between 11 am and 11 pm and while there, Customs Revenue Officer II, Wenito Bootle, will give a motivational speech.
Additionally, in an effort to enhance the relationship between Customs and relevant stakeholders, particularly couriers and licensees, two fora will be held: On February 28, a session for Couriers and Shipping and Airline Agents, as well as Customs Brokers will be held from 4 to 6 pm in Room 3 of the C.A. Smith Complex. On March 1, a session with Licensees who are contractors, manufacturers and Customs Brokers associated with them will be held.
The 29th International Customs Day will be held on Friday, January 26.