Mon | Nov 30, 2020

St Mary residents get close up to Customs Agency

Published:Saturday | June 29, 2019 | 12:18 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Persons gather at the Customs Agency booth that has on display some items that are banned.
Persons gather at the Customs Agency booth that has on display some items that are banned.

The Jamaica Customs Agency’s ‘Customs Meets the Community’ meeting at the Anglican Church Hall in Port Maria, St Mary, on Thursday was welcomed by the scores of residents who turned out.

The meeting allowed residents to discuss their concerns with agency officials and get first-hand knowledge of certain aspects of the agency’s operations and the charges applied to goods coming into the country.

The event featured several booths that facilitated interaction, and there were several presentations, including on border protection and personal and commercial imports.

Several members of the Charles Town Community Development Committee, led by president George Bloomfield, turned out at the meeting seeking information.

“This [meeting] is very appropriate because a lot of persons are just not familiar with the work of customs, so we are here for information,” Bloomfield said to The Gleaner. “I’m happy to be here today, and I hope the information that they’re sharing will be beneficial to everybody.”

Aneeka Hannigan, who journeyed from St Ann just for the meeting, explained, “I’m interested in getting things from overseas; I do it all the time. So I just come to find out if I could get things in more reasonable so we could sell it more reasonable.”

CLEARANCE CHALLENGES

Another woman, Norma Jones, said that she has been having problems clearing goods at the port and attended the meeting in search of solutions.

“I’m here basically because I’ve been importing stuff over the years and I’ve been having some real challenges,” Jones pointed said. “Right now, I have some goods stuck in warehouses in Montego Bay, so I’m here to get clarity on the customs system, the operation, and I just need to see if I can get the goods in at a better cost.”

Social Development Commission’s (SDC) parish manager for St Mary, Shawin Reynolds, said the SDC collaborated with the Customs Agency to hold the meeting.

He said the intention was to pass on knowledge to the public.

“At the end, we hope that people will be more knowledgeable and better aware of how they can get things in,” Reynolds said.

“One of the things that we have we found out is that persons would want to send things in for the community groups so that the members in the community can benefit, but, of course, they encounter challenges at the department,” he added.

The event also featured exhibits by the Plant Quarantine Produce Inspection Branch, the Pesticides Control Authority and the SDC.