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<em>Seated: l-r:</em> Newest Customs Officers Mr. Derry Arch, Ms Kiera Simpson, Ms Yuliet Rivero-Romulo, Ms Melinda Dickson and Mr. Philip Justin Anglin; <em>standing l-r</em>: Instructor Ms Vienie Vernon; Course Administrator and Deputy Collector, Ms Emalie Wilks; Instructor Mr. Newton Powery; Training Manager Mr. Langlie Powery; Collector Mrs. Samantha Bennett; Minister Hon. Marco Archer; Financial Secretary, Mr. Kenneth Jefferson; Deputy Collector Mr. Collie Powery and Instructor Mr. Philip West

"The goal was to provide the new recruits with a broad overview of the roles, responsibilities and challenges..."

Instructor Mr. Newton Powery

Published 8th July 2014, 11:56am

Five Caymanians are the newest Customs Officers to don the signature epaulettes, after “graduating” Monday, 30 June 2014 from a rigorous 12-week training course at Customs Headquarters.

The group comprised Mr. Philip Justin Anglin, Mr. Derry Arch, Ms Melinda Dickson, top recruit Ms Yuliet Rivero-Romulo and Ms Kiera Simpson.

They received their certificates from Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Marco Archer. Financial Secretary, Mr. Kenneth Jefferson offered congratulations, while HM Customs Collector, Mrs. Samantha Bennett, presented their epaulettes.

As border agents, “you are the first line of defence,” Minister Archer emphasised. With sound knowledge about relevant laws, “your jobs will become easy,” he added. He urged them to take pride in a profession that protects the Cayman Islands from external forces, and told them to be undeterred by criticisms they were bound to encounter in their jobs. He also stressed the importance of remaining motivated to do their best on the job.

L-r: Newest Customs Officers Mr. Derry Arch, Ms Kiera Simpson, Ms Yuliet Rivero-Romulo, Ms Melinda Dickson and Mr. Philip Justin Anglin

Mr. Jefferson noted it was equally important to know the relevant laws and the reason they were in place, which should help in dealing with exceptions to the law. He urged them not to hesitate to ask questions and learn more.

Welcoming them to the “family” and sharing tips on how they might excel, Mrs. Bennett asked the newcomers to set a good example and be involved as team members. “Be genuinely interested, inspired and motivated.” She advised them also to be good communicators, as often the message can get lost if conveyed poorly. “A better informed officer will do a great job,” she added.

Responding on behalf of the recruits, Ms Rivero-Romulo commented that the training had been invaluable, readying them to tackle their job. Their work experience was a blank sheet, which they might now fill with their best efforts, she declared.

Senior Customs Officer Philip West, on behalf of the course instructors, told the new officers to continue honing their skills on the job and noted there were always opportunities to excel. “Our department is in a better position than 12 weeks ago,” he commented.

Training Manager Mr. Langlie Powery, who welcomed the gathering, noted the training had been expanded from the customary four weeks to better prepare the recruits to the complexities of the job.

Besides Mr. Powery and Mr. West, the instructors were: Mr. Ronnie Miller, Mr. Kevin Walton, Mr. Jeff Jackson, Mr. Windell Solomon, Mr. Nicholas Rivers, Mr. Malachi Powery, Ms Tina Campbell, Mr. Newton Powery, Ms Vienie Vernon and Mr. Darren Kirchman.

In addition, participating instructors represented the departments of Agriculture, Immigration, Legal, Commerce & Investment, Tourism and Environment, Police, Prison Service, Monetary Authority, Law School, Office of the Complaints Commissioner, Protocol Office and Information Commissioner’s Office, Mr. Powery said.

“The goal was to provide the new recruits with a broad overview of the roles, responsibilities and challenges new Customs Officers face as custodians of securing our borders and revenue,” he explained.

(GIS)