According to a release from the Department’s PRO, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Denzil Douglas encouraged the management and staff to continue their capacity enhancement initiatives.
Dr. Douglas was at the time addressing the first quarterly staff meeting of the Customs and Excise Department on Saturday 22nd January at the NEMA Conference Facility.
In keeping with the 2011 theme, Dr. Douglas encouraged the department to continue its programmes of training in technical areas and the softer skills necessary for the delivery of high levels of service to the public and our visitors.
The leader of the nation also admonished the Customs department to become “more adept, service oriented and transparent as you make relevant and timely improvements in your role according to changes brought about in the international trade, technological development and national needs.”
He also congratulated the department for its key role in the nation’s successful ranking in the 2011 Doing Business Report where St. Kitts-Nevis was rated first in the OECS and CARICOM, in relation to trading across borders.
Also addressing the Customs gathering was retired UK Customs Advisor, Mr. Andy Argyle. The UK consultant advised his Customs colleagues of St. Kitts and Nevis to view International Customs Day as a day which “brings sharply into focus that Customs Departments throughout the world are a closely knit family, bonded by common challenges.”
Argyle, who is at present in the federation facilitating the two week Middle Management Training for St. Kitts-Nevis Customs and Excise Department, believes that the ongoing training initiatives of the St. Kitts-Nevis Customs and Excise Department is a commendable effort to meet the challenges of meeting the national agenda in the present global environment.
Argyle said that “training, development and communication will produce professionalism, ethics and service standards of the highest quality.”
Meanwhile, Comptroller of Customs Mr. Rodney Harris said that the 2011 for theme International Customs Day is most apt as his department continues to focus on capacity building. Harris has said that “training is a high priority in the Customs Department and the knowledge received can only lead to excellence, once it is put to use.”
Harris also revealed that the department already has plans already in place to conduct a Narcotics Database Training Workshop for Customs agents from April 4 -15, this year. The focus of this course will be the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to meet the border enforcement objectives of the Customs Department.
International Customs Day is celebrated each year on January 26, across the 177 countries that make up the World Customs Organization.