The Jamaica Customs Agency annual customs week church service ensured a vibrant and spiritual start to this year’s Customs Week activities as staff and stakeholders gathered, mostly online, to praise and worship on Sunday.
The ceremony, held under the theme “Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem,” was attended by State Minister within the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Hon. Dr. Norman Dunn, State Minister within the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, Hon. Marsha Smith, CEO/Commissioner of JCA, Velma Ricketts Walker, head of public sector department and agencies, the diplomatic community, key stakeholders, staff of the JCA and friends.
In his greetings, Minister Dunn commended the JCA for the successful implementation of various digital platforms that were achieved through coordinated efforts with other agencies.
“Major commendation must be given to the JCA for the digital initiatives already implemented that are enabling the public sector to serve better, for example, the Jamaica Single Window for Trade (JSWIFT) – a collaboration with our Border Regulator Agencies, that creates a single ecosystem for trade locally and internationally,” Minister Dunn said.
“JSWIFT is an important step in the right direction, as this single access point allows for easier submission of documents, along with the improvements to the ASYCUDA systems,” he added.
He said, too, that the implementation of these initiatives amidst the global health crisis “speaks to the visionary leadership and committed team at Jamaica Customs.”
Meanwhile, the CEO/Commissioner of the JCA, Velma Ricketts Walker, in deliver her customs week message, reminded the congregation (virtual and physical) to “reflect on the past year and be spiritually re-ignited for the rest of the year and beyond.”
Commissioner Ricketts-Walker also acknowledged the many challenges brought on by the global pandemic, and thanks the JCA employees for adapting to the new paradigm.
Additionally, a minute of silence was observed for Brian Andrews, Paul Thompson, and Carol Caseman, staff members who died recently.
Each year the international customs community celebrates International Customs Day (ICD) in recognition of the vital role of customs officials in handling the flow of goods across international borders. Other activities planned in celebration of this year’s Customs Week are the Employees’ Reward and Recognition Awards, launch of JCA’s Podcast Series, Newspaper Supplement and Staff Vybz Day.