Minister Salutes Long Serving Customs Officers

January 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

Last week, the Minister of National Security Renee Ming joined the Customs Department in observing International Customs Day.

For the occasion, the department honoured 27 Customs Officers who have served 10, 15, 30, 35 and 40 of service, and Minister Ming presented awards to those who were celebrating 30, 35 and 40 years: Senior Customs Officer Pamelita Webb – 40 years, Senior Customs Officer Terry Ann Smith – 35 years, Ms. Sharon Burgess – Data Input Clerk – 30 years, Principal Customs Officer Dean Lema – 30 years, Senior Customs Officer Andrea McKey – 30 years, Senior Customs Officer Clyde Julio – 30 years, Customs Officer Vincent John – 30 years and Customs Officer Carla Hill – 30 years.

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A Government spokesperson said, “Last week [January 26], the Customs Department observed International Customs Day, and for the occasion, it honoured 27 Customs Officers who have served 10, 15, 30, 35 and 40 years with the service.

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“Typically as part of the International Customs Day observances, the department hosts a series of events to raise awareness about its work and services. This year, however, due to COVID-19, activities were curtailed.

“The theme of 2021 Customs Day was ‘Customs Bolstering Recovery, Renewal and Resilience for a sustainable supply chain,’ and this year focused on saluting the unified efforts of Customs’ organisations around the world in managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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One of the highlights of last week was the Long Service Awards.

Minister of National Security Renee Ming – who was on hand to present certificates and commemorative gifts to those celebrating 30, 35 and 40 years – said, “I’m delighted to recognise the dedication and service of our outstanding long serving Customs Officers. The Customs Department has just finished an extraordinarily busy 2020 holiday season.

“Because residents have been unable to travel regularly during the pandemic they’ve been importing courier packages from abroad in record numbers. And it is a testament to your resilience and flexibility that you were able to swiftly adjust your protocols and practices to meet the demand.”

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Minister Ming continued, “I understand that at times your hard work doesn’t always get recognized, but I’m here to say to you that I acknowledge and appreciate all of the critical work that you do.

“You play a vital role in our country. This last year hasn’t been an easy one for Bermuda. The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched us. It has strained our resources, and it struck a hard blow to our economy. But we are resilient.

“And Bermuda has been successful in managing the risks of the pandemic thanks in part to the Ministry of National Security’s uniformed service departments. During this pandemic the Customs Department’s essential operational units continued to function.

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“You processed passengers through the airport; you managed our seaport operations to ensure that vital goods, packages, food and medicines were cleared; you oversaw the management of arriving vessels such as yachts to ensure that they adhered to our emergency protocols; and you were instrumental in keeping our borders safe by preventing the movement of contraband such as firearms, illicit drugs and criminal proceeds.

“You are on the frontlines of keeping our country safe and functioning and we owe you a great debt of gratitude. To those receiving Long Service Awards today, I thank you for your years of service, your leadership, and your selflessness to the Ministry of National Security, the Government and the people of Bermuda.”

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The Collector of Customs, Lucinda Pearman added, “The Customs Department continues to play an important role in the Bermuda economy and moreover have maintained our mission which is to promote compliance with Bermuda’s customs laws through quality service and responsible enforcement.

“As 2020 was a challenging year for not only the Customs Department, Bermuda and the entire world, it has forced all of us to maintain our business continuity by thinking outside the norm and implementing safe and compliant ways of doing business.

“Our staff and officers are responsible for facilitating trade, assessing and collecting revenue and interdicting drugs and other contraband. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the public to come to visit our social media page for some of the highlights of 2020 at www.facebook.com/bermudacustoms.”

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