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The new successful trainees with (front row, l-r) Lead Trainer Mr. Andy Fernelon; CI Customs Collector Mr. Carlon Powery, MBE, JP, Financial Secretary Mr. Kenneth Jefferson, JP and Training Manager and Course Coordinator Mr. Langlie Powery.

Published 16th May 2012, 1:58pm

Twelve new recruits recently became Junior Customs Officers, following four weeks' intensive training.

Successfully completing the basic course were Sabrina Cane, Jordan Ebanks, Anthony Echenique, Joshua Grizzel, Arvid Harris, Scott Hydes, Sharissa McLaughlin, Sacha Miller, Philip Neale-Bodden, Eren Nicholson, Holly Schneider and Kruse Smith.

Taking top honours was Ms Ebanks, followed by Mr. Smith and Ms Schneider in second and third place respectively.

The recruits' concentrated training covered such topics as legislation, communications, defusing situations, drugs identification, firearm handling, passengers and baggage search, ethics and integrity, and customer service.

At the closing ceremony Friday, 11 May at Customs Headquarters where the trainees received their certificates, Financial Secretary Mr. Kenneth Jefferson urged these "ambassadors" at airport and seaport arrival areas to remain polite, professional and knowledgeable when dealing with visitors as well as to continue learning.

Being thorough with the rules has to go hand in hand with common sense and a good grasp of the reason the rules are applicable, he emphasised.

Collector of Customs Mr. Carlon Powery, MBE, JP, lauded the recruits for their impressive performance during the training which augured well for their continuing progress on the job. He advised them to consult their colleagues to improve their knowledge. "Customs can be a truly exciting career. Make the Department the best it can be," he said.

Noting the recruits were joining the Customs' team when major initiatives are underway, he looked forward to their participation in making the department's efforts successful. "Let's go forward," he added.

He also appreciated Lead Trainer and Deputy Comptroller of St. Lucia Customs Department, Mr. Andy Fernelon, for his long involvement in training Customs officers in the Cayman Islands.

A team of 14 persons from the department, plus agriculture and tourism ministry personnel provided the training. Customs Training Manager and Course Coordinator Mr. Langlie Powery led the effort and handed over prizes with Administrative Secretary Ms Ardell Archer to top trainees Ms Ebanks, Mr. Smith and Ms Schneider.

"The training we provide covers all operations of the Customs Department, giving the recruits a broad overview of what we do and their roles and responsibilities as Customs officers. The emphasis, of course, is on protecting our borders and ensuring they bear in mind always the spirit of our mission statement," Mr. Powery said.

The department's mission statement reads: "To collect and protect Government's revenue, facilitate legitimate trade and control prohibited and restricted goods in a cost efficient manner while preserving a safe environment for all."