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Belize Customs and Excise celebrates International Customs Day

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A short ceremony was held this morning to commemorate International Customs Day which is being celebrated under the theme “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport.” The Belize Customs and Excise Department has been working closely with World Customs Organization and CARICOM’S IMPACS to put in place, practices and discipline to better secure our borders. At today’s ceremony, the Customs Officers were commended for their dedication to the profession while encouraging them to work smarter, not harder, as they confront the challenges to secure the borders.   Andy Sutherland, the Director General Directorate General of Foreign Trade spoke about how Belize implements a wholesome strategy that makes travel and trade flow seamlessly on a daily basis.

Johnelle Mckenzie: “A short ceremony was held this morning to commemorate international customs day which is being celebrated under the theme of Smart Borders for seamless trade, travel and transport. The Belize customs in excess department has been working closely with World Customs Organizations and CARICOM’s IMPACS to put in place practices and discipline to better secure borders. At today’s ceremony the customs officers were commended for their dedication to the profession: one encouraged to work smarter not harder as they confront the challenges to secure our borders. Andy Sutherland the Director General and the Director General of Foreign Trade spoke about how Belize implements a wholesome strategy that makes travel and trade flow seamlessly on a daily basis.

Andy Sutherland Director General of Foreign Trade: “Belize is fully on board with this international agenda and is committed to the itinerary identified in this year’s theme. The national commitment can be summarized by these three following examples: firstly customs modernization and Customs and Excise Department has done a wonderful job with this so far. As a country we pride ourselves in being a leader in CARICOM and of course you know Belize is an integrating member of CARICOM and in this regard we are one of the first and remains one of the few within the region who have implemented a secudaworldplus which is the latest customs clearance tools as you are all aware. This has significantly improved our customs administration and efficiency. In addition our Customs Department boasts some of the most experienced and qualified personnel in their disciplines and this adds to the quality of service delivered across the country. For them we have implemented an  effective management process as was alluded to earlier along with close audit controls and all necessary components to achieving smart borders, seamless trade through trade facilitation instruments.”

Johnelle Mckenzie: “The Belize Customs and Excise Department is the gatekeeper for our port of entries by securing our borders as well as facilitating the countries development by assisting with Trade. Therese Martinez a Customs Examiner 1 at Belize Customs and Excise Department spoke about the accomplishments over the years.”

Therese Martinez Customs Examiner: “We have been able to continue our modernization effort and so when we focus on this theme for this year it is mainly for us to improve on what we have been doing because we have improved our automation system, we have implemented risk management, we have a new unit for risk management, we have been using technology to assist us. For example we have drones and so we have been able to do that with the modernization that continues we have been able to achieve that so there is more work yes as you go along because there are challenges in the 21st Century and so we keep upgrading and improving our work.

Johnelle Mckenzie: “The Belize Customs and Excise Department is a little over 200 employees strong. They are faced with several challenges. Ronald Sanchez an Intelligence Enforcement Officer says the Department is applying new methods to address these challenges.”

Ronald Sanchez Intelligence Enforcement Officer Belize Customs and Excise: “Same methods that I use for the country bono are also being used to transport illegal stuff such as drugs, weapons, ammunition and even human trafficking and so it is increasing. The challenges are increasing and we are trying to step up forces as much as possible to see how we can combat the situation and stay on top of the game. Some of the same people who are committing the infringement with the contraband are the same ones who are involving themselves in the drug trade and stuff like that so it’s really causing a serious impact on the department simply because we have to increase our efforts, we have to step up our efforts and make sure we are ahead of the game so we can combat situations as much as possible as much as we can so we need to implement new measures, new system in place. We have to revisit how we approach the whole country can be one game on a whole so it’s a challenge for us and we are willing to take it on an see how best we can manage our situation.

Johnelle Mckenzie: “A fair was also held today where the various departments of the Belize Customs and Excise was on display. This is Johnelle Mckenzie, Love News.”

There is also a fair being held today where the various departments of Belize Customs and Excise are on display.

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