Fri | Aug 17, 2018

Green line Customs folly

Published:Monday | January 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I note with interest the accolades being heaped upon the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and its CEO, Richard Reese, in the January 23, 2017 edition of The Gleaner.

Also of great interest is the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the JCA and the United Kingdom Border Force (UKBF), further strengthening their existing partnership.

Since the UKBF, although part of the Home Office, has the same powers as officers of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), it seems reasonable to assume that the JCA could stand to learn a lot and benefit greatly from its relationship with the UKBF.

In particular, the JCA could learn how to properly use and administer the Nothing To Declare (Green) line at our ports of entry.

I wager that we are probably the only country that requires people in a green line to form a queue in order to be interrogated at a document-checking station!

Keep in mind that the said documents have already been thoroughly checked by Jamaica's Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency.

I hereby humbly suggest that for Reese and the JCA to be properly deserving of said accolades, an immediate adjustment to the existing green line folly should be made (in line with long-established international practice) whereby people in the green line simply hand in their completed customs forms as they exit (subject, of course, to careful but unobtrusive visual inspection by the well-trained and very experienced officers of the police force, who have the right to require random inspections)

It is also a certainty that Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett and other tourism stakeholders would welcome such a move!