St. Kitts – Nevis Customs Officers Attend Workshop
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
February 05, 2009 (SKNIS):
The laws pertaining to the capabilities of customs officers were among subjects explained to and discussed by customs personnel attending the Sixth Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) Jr. Customs Officers Training Course.
Nineteen young persons are attending the eight-week course and according to Delroy Joseph, Assistant Comptroller of Customs with responsibility for training, it is designed to introduce continuous learning and give the basic technical and soft skills as well as equip the new customs officers with the tools to efficiently do their jobs in a changing world.
Mr. Joseph further noted that self development will be encouraged. He said that such is facilitated by CCLEC which has an e-learning programme where officers can educate themselves and be tested and certified at the end of the programme.
The Assistant Comptroller of Customs elaborated that the e-learning course was piloted in October-November 2008 and was a raving success. He said that the department is now awaiting word from CCLEC as to the next phase. The Assistant Comptroller said the e-course gave information on some of the same topics that were being taught at the eight-week course but was more current in that topics were added continuously.
Another e-service which should come-on-stream in the near future is electronic declaration designed to speed up clearing of goods and reduce costs. The official website was launched at the course’s opening ceremony on January 26, 2009.
Facilitator Terry Adams who is the Assistant Comptroller with responsibility for port operations, explained that the section of the course that he is conducting was specific to the law. Participants were educated in the various legislations including statutory rules and orders relevant to customs. This enabled the officers to understand the procedures and responsibilities as it relates to their job. Assistant Comptroller Adams said that specifically, the Customs Act would be examined in detail. As such, by the end of the course, Junior Officers are expected to know how to operate within the law at their various placements.
The Junior Customs Officers were also prepared as to what to expect in the field. Mr. Adams said that a customs officer may be faced with a difficult passenger at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport who resists a request to show his or her passport. He said that the Customs Act speaks to legislation, outlining that passengers have to comply with such a request or alternatively deal with the appropriate authorities, specifically, the police.
Junior customs officers will also be trained in Prohibited and Restricted Goods, Situation Diffusion, Cargo Report and Processing and Warehousing, Tariff Classification, Invoicing, Time Management, conflict resolution and customer service.