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Junior Customs officers being trained for today’s world

Junior Customs officers being trained for today’s world

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Sixteen Junior Customs officers, earlier this week, began the three-month junior customs promotions course.{{more}}

Ann-Marie Quow, Assistant Comptroller of Planning, Research, Human Resource Development and Public Relations (Ag), said that the workshop, which began on May 6 and is expected to end on July 29, is one of the initiatives of the Customs and Excise Department, in response to concerns by members of the public to have officers properly trained.

And according to Grenville John, Comptroller of the Customs and Excise Department, over the years, the department has adopted some broad objectives.

“The course is to develop and strengthen the knowledge of officers in the various Customs laws, procedures and techniques,” he said.

The course, John explained, is being used as the benchmark to determine promotions, but more importantly, to build capacity in the department.

“It becomes even more important when we consider what is taking place within the Customs Department.

“We have made considerable progress in the modernization of the department; however, in order for us to achieve greater success, our staff and stakeholders must have a greater appreciation for the new applications,” the comptroller explained.

The modern customs officer, operating in a modern environment, must be a highly trained import/export professional, he said.

“An honest, hard working person, with the right attitude to learn – a person of high integrity and not susceptible to bribe, collusion or corruption,” John explained.

He said the modern customs officer must be knowledgeable in tariff schedules, customs legislation and they must keep abreast of amendments made to the laws of the administrative procedures.

They must also be well versed in determining proper classification and valuation and be aware and enforce strict schedules of prohibited and restricted goods to operate effectively in the new customs environment.

Frederick Stephenson, Minister of National Mobilisation, said the Customs and Excise Department is very important within the ambit of the government, because it brings in the single largest amount of revenue to enable the government to carry out its programmes.

Customs officers, therefore, need to take their jobs seriously.

According to Stephenson, the officers should have a set of core principles.

“Too many people don’t have a core – it is important that we understand this,” the minister said.

Similarly, Kattian Barnwell, Chief Personnel Officer said that the public service was now the sector of choice for job seekers and that the Customs and Excise Department stood out prominently among the three top departments where applicants express the desire to be posted.

“You are working in a department that is viewed by the public as one of the top three most prestigious areas in the public service,” Barnwell said.

This, she added, should inspire those already employed and give them confidence.

“Let it guide the way you wear your uniform; the public is looking at you and judging you,” she said. (DD)

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