The call was made on Monday (17th January), by the Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Rodney Harris who was at the time addressing middle managers of the Customs Department, at the start of a five (5) day training workshop, taking place at the H.S Hanley Room, Customs & Excise Headquarters, Bird Rock, Basseterre.
“The Customs and Excise listens and understands the concerns of our customers and will seek to address these concerns as much as possible,” said Harris.
He continued, “One critical area is the level of service that we give. This management course will introduce to our mangers the substance which [will] allow them to blossom and produce an improved level of service tour customers.”
The Comptroller of Customs informed his colleagues that customer feedback played a role in the design of the course.
According to a release from the Public Relations Department of the Customs, middle managers at the Customs and Excise Department in St. Kitts and Nevis are taking a step back from their day to day responsibilities to receive training that will advance their effectiveness in a management post.
The release stated that at the start of the five-day workshop, the mid level officers were informed that areas for review would include leadership, coaching, team building, negotiation skills, media management and managing conflict.
Meanwhile, the government’s Financial Secretary Janet Harris, challenged the participants to embrace the critical review and strengthening exercise, as the role of the Customs and Excise Department is growing as the twin-island Federation evolves. She noted that while the economy continues to recover from the global recession and new foreign investments are being welcomed, officials must be mindful to prevent negative elements from entering the country.
“As a border enforcement agency, you have the daunting task of providing public protection. Therefore you must devise strategies to mitigate these risks. We expect that this course will help you,” said Mrs. Harris
The training is being spearheaded by Andy Argyle, a retired official from Her Majesty’s (HM) Customs International Relations Division in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Argyle is expected to draw on his years of experience working for international institutions, such as the World Bank and World Trade Organization, during his facilitation of the Middle Management Training Workshop.
He has helped devise and push forward capacity building and management development for the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) and noted that the Government is to be commended.
The sessions will cover some topics outlined in an academic management programme of the University of Canberra Faculty of Customs and Excise Studies located in Australia. The University offers Diploma and Degree level certifications and participants were encouraged to enrol for online classes at after the local training is completed.
(Parts of this article were written using extracts from a Customs Department Press release)