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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 29, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – As it observes its 60th anniversary of serving the Federation, the St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department took time out to duly recognize the dedication and commitment of seventeen (17) current and past officers, whose services helped to shape the revenue collection agency.
This was done at a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The event formed part of a week of activities which was observed under the theme, “60 Years of Dedicated Service, Innovation and Advancement.”
During the ceremony, Keithly Hendrickson, Eli Webbe and Calvin Powell were awarded for accumulating the most years of service among active officers, while B’jorn Griffin, Kirth Liburd, Kaymoye Carey and Nichevaun Browne were recognized for making the most interdictions in the last three years.
Retired Comptrollers of Customs Hubert S. Stanley, Sydney B. Williams, Donald Cable and Norman Williams were all awarded in recognition of their contribution to the department.
Also awarded at Saturday’s ceremony were the winners of the Independence Drill Competition, namely: Sherima Stanley, Kajali Gumbs, Darius Bedford and Glenroy Phillip, while Keston Herbert was awarded for winning the 60th Anniversary Slogan Competition.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris was among the dignitaries in attendance at the awards ceremony. In delivering the featured address, Prime Minister Harris commended the past and present customs officers who have played their part in establishing the Customs and Excise Department’s reputation as an industry leader.
“The praise for the Department is not just coming from me and neither is it only coming from local customs brokers and traders or freight forwarders. It also emanates out of reports issued by prestigious international organizations, such as the World Bank Group. The World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business Report ranked St. Kitts and Nevis, out of all the countries in the English-speaking Caribbean, as the best facilitator of processing cross border trade,” the Prime Minister said, while indicating that this is a huge international accolade that is often overlooked in an examination of the country’s overall ranking.
The Honourable Prime Minister stated that the processing times at the Customs Department are way ahead of the Latin American and Caribbean average.
“The report found, for instance, that while it takes 65 hours on average to process documents and clear goods at Latin American and Caribbean ports, it takes 37 hours on average at St. Kitts and Nevis’ ports. That is 57 percent less time, or one and a half days here in St. Kitts and Nevis as opposed to roughly three days on average elsewhere,” Dr. Harris said.
Other activities held in observation of the St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department’s 60th anniversary included an Open Day at Picture Square in Charlestown, Nevis and at the Customs Headquarters in St. Kitts, as well as community-based activities which focused on donating to the St. Christopher Children’s Home and serving the elderly residents at the Flamboyant Home in Nevis and the Cardin Home in St. Kitts.