Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 27, 2020 (SKNIS): Border security in St. Kitts and Nevis will be strengthened in the coming months as the government continues to upgrade Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department.
Some of the security enhancements were shared by Senior Minister the Honourable Vance Amory on Sunday (January 26, 2020) during an address to mark International Customs Day. International Customs Day is observed annually on January 26.and is designed to highlight the contribution of Customs towards a sustainable future.
The senior minister noted that the men and women at Customs and Excise use a variety of tools including K-9 dogs and X-ray scanning machines during border protection duties. A scanning device at the seaport has been very effective.
“By midyear 2020, there will be another scanner installed to manage the ever-increasing cargo at the airport,” Honourable Amory stated. “There is also another initiative to introduce passenger baggage scanners at the R.L.B. International Baggage Hall to further improve our nation’s security. This will allow passengers who are sent for secondary screening to be processed much faster.”
The Enforcement Unit of the Customs and Excise Department continues to grow as the number of joint operations with other security agencies including the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force increase.
Senior Minister Amory indicated that “This Team Unity Government, has seen it fit to build an Enforcement Building where the different units such as Investigations, Intelligence, Risk Management, Marine Unit, K9 team etc., can be housed. This building I am informed will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2020.”
The senior minister’s remarks were made at the Antioch Baptist Church, where members of the Customs and Excise department had gathered to worship. They were joined by the Minister of Public Infrastructure, the Honourable Ian Patches Liburd; Cabinet Secretary, Josephine Huggins; Financial Secretary, Hillary Hazel; National Security Adviser, Retired Maj. General Stewart Saunders; and Chief Immigration Officer, Merclyn Hughes.
The church service was the first in a series of events to mark International Customs Day. Other activities include an appearance on the Working for You radio and television programme on Wednesday, January 29; an Open Day on Friday, January 31; and a beach social on Saturday, February 01. The theme for International Customs Day is “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet.”