Governor General His Excellency the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest jointed the Bahamas Customs and Excise Department, as it commemorated the 31st International Customs Day Celebration and Long Service Award Ceremony at Government House, Friday, January 24, 2020. This year, three persons were honoured for 20 years of service, three for 30 years and 12 for 40 years of service. There were also 12 persons honoured with the esteemed Certificate of Merit, which is issued by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) upon recommendation of the Comptroller of Customs to staff who demonstrate their commitment to the WCO’s theme.
DPM Turnquest stated, “International Customs Day for 2020 is being celebrated worldwide under the theme, ‘Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet’. This theme recognizes the many ways Customs administrations contribute to the social, economic, health and environmental needs of nations. It recognizes the contribution of Customs towards our sustainable futures.” He added, “Often times we get so caught up in the fact that Customs is a revenue collection agency that we lose sight of the other functions it serves. The vision for the WCO encapsulates it perfectly. ‘Borders divide. Customs Connects.’ Our Customs Department is uniquely positioned at the gateway to our nation, connecting The Bahamas to the world and the world to The Bahamas.
The DPM also noted that over the past few years, Customs has been a leader amongst government institutions when it comes to embracing a transformation and modernization agenda. “Indeed, Customs is to be commended for investing in its people and in its institutional systems and processes in ways that are delivering technological advancement, greater efficiency, more security and transparency and higher standards of performance all around. ”DPM Turnquest said, “From Click2Clear, The Bahamas Electronic Single Window, to the Customs Management Optimization Project, just to name a few, Customs has stayed focused and steadfast, even as it has weathered many storms and faced much criticism.”