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Jamaican Customs Officers being trained to strengthen border control operations

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Over 300 customs officers in Jamaica are being trained to bolster border control operations, as the island prepares to host the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.

The Jamaica Customs Department has allocated some $6 million for this training exercise, which will include enhancing the customer service capabilities of customs officers.

Deputy Commissioner in charge of operations at the Jamaica Customs Department, Deloree Staple-Chambers, made this disclosure at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’.

“We are currently in the last phase of training and what we have done is to identify a selected group of officers who are presently undergoing specialized training in customer service and procedures for handling transactions for the games,” she said, adding that these persons would be on call to work at both international airports during the period.

In the area of customer service, she noted that the emphasis would be on sensitizing the officers about the various procedures to deal with the different categories of visitors who would be traveling to the island for matches.

“The visitors are classified in different categories, including teams, officials, media practitioners, sponsors, officials of organizations and there are different procedures for treating each group. When our officers have completed training, they will know how each of these categories is to be treated, in order to ensure that there will be no hiccups,” Mrs. Staple-Chambers said.

The Deputy Commissioner explained that the border security training program, which is being conducted in collaboration with the Immigration Department, “will focus on equipping the officers to be able to identify high risk passengers and dealing with these passengers in a coordinated manner, which will involve both the Customs and Immigration Departments”.

Additionally, she pointed out that the officers would receive training in areas, such as identifying products that are in breach of copyright laws, as the Department strengthens its monitoring system.

“We have received training materials from the organizers of the games, which we have included in our training program to make our officers aware of what is possible and what is not acceptable,” she pointed out.

She said further that the ICC has provided samples of their patents and copyright assets as well as a list of persons who have been given the right to use these items.

“We also have examples of infringement, including articles that were manufactured and are being marketed overseas,” the Deputy Commissioner said.
In the event that persons try to import these items for commercial purposes, the customs officers will be able to identify these items and the procedures for dealing with them, as it relates to the detention process.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, the intention of the Department is to identify and deal with persons who will be using this opportunity to import counterfeit and pirated materials.

At the same time, the Customs Department is simplifying its processes to ensure a smoother clearance of passengers, especially those who are going about their business legally.

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