The Jamaica Customs Agency has been praised by a senior manager for innovating during the COVID-19 era and surmounting challenges presented by the pandemic.
That response has included renewed attention on the improvement of customer service standards, said Operations Manager Rosemarie Wauchope.
“Having experienced the global pandemic, as an agency, we have had to re-engineer many of our goods and processes, embrace new technologies, and introduce more customer-focused and staff-centred initiatives in order that we could remain resilient and committed to our mandates, that of border protection and revenue culture,” Wauchope said.
She was addressing the church service at Burchell Memorial Baptist in Montego Bay, which marked the start of its annual week of celebratory activities.
Among the JCA’s recent accomplishments is the development of a contactless clearance system in collaboration with the Montego Bay-based Port Handlers Limited.
The new system, which launched its pilot phase last December and is expected to see full roll-out on April 1 this year, is intended to significantly reduce the wait times for importers to clear goods from the port. Clearance has reportedly previously taken as long as eight hours in a day.
The JCA’s thrust for improvement falls in line with its emphasis on greater efficiency, transparency and accountability in all of its operations.
“We will continue to take steps to encourage where necessary, to enforce in order to ensure compliance. We will continue to engage our various stakeholders as we seek to continuously improve the services we provide,” Wauchope said.
The operations manager emphasised that Customs was proud of its accomplishments and remained committed to improving high standards and serving its stakeholders.
During this week, the JCA will undertake a series of activities leading up to its joining of customs agencies from other countries to celebrate International Customs Day on Thursday, January 26.
The celebration will be held under the theme, ‘Nurturing the next generation: promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing and professional pride in Customs’.
“This year’s theme continues to place people at the centre of all we do, and importantly, ensuring that we embrace the tenets of knowledge sharing as we seek to effectively fill the capacity and expand the knowledge of the next generation,” Wauchope said.
“As an agency, we have made significant strides by continuously building the capacity of our staff, undertaking our work with pride, and executing our mandates with excellence through service delivery.”