Customs Breaks Ground
Government dignitaries broke ground last week for a new $1.3 million, 3,000 sq. ft. Customs facility on Portland Road, the first new building in 23 years for the revenue and border security agency.
Located next to the Port Authority's Cargo Distribution Centre, the new Customs building will house the department's $2.1 million mobile x-ray truck which has been in operation from early 2012.
Since then, the mobile x-ray scanning truck from Smith's Detection in the United Kingdom (UK), has successfully prevented illegal firearms and other contraband from being imported as well as stopped export of stolen goods from robberies and burglaries, Customs Collector Mr. Clifford explained.
Planned and designed by Public Works to Customs' specifications, the hurricane-rated structure will also provide office space for Customs officers assigned to the department's Freight Security Initiative Section as well as the Container Processing and Inspection Unit and administrative offices. The project, which has Mr. Dean Scott as the local contractor, is scheduled for completion for March 2017.
On Thursday, 5 May 2016, led by the Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, MBE, JP, other participants in the ground breaking included: the Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson, Cert. Hon., JP; the Deputy Premier, Hon Moses Kirkconnell, JP; Minister for Finance, the Hon Marco Archer, JP; Community Affairs Minister, Hon. Osbourne Bodden, JP; Attorney General, Hon. Samuel Bulgin, QC, JP, Ministerial Councillor, Mr. Joey Hew; Cabinet Secretary, Mr Samuel Rose, JP; Financial Secretary, Mr. Kenneth Jefferson, JP; Collector of Customs, Mr. Charles Clifford, JP; as well as the contractor Mr. Dean Scott.
The Premier thanked Customs officers for their successes in revenue generation and border control, and commented that the community appreciated the risks they take day and night doing their duties.
Finance Minister, Hon. Marco Archer, JP, lauded the department for making a "very wise investment" in building a modern facility to house equipment that "vastly decreases and deters transiting of illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband" across borders.
Financial Secretary and Chief Officer Kenneth Jefferson, JP, noted: "With the additional investment in this new building and our approach to maritime border security, we will increase our scanning capacity and effectiveness, and should meet compliance objectives with the various United States (U.S.) and world trade initiatives as well as other proposed international legislation," he added.
All speakers were unanimous in lauding Assistant Collectors Jeff Jackson and Philip West and retired Assistant Collector Trevor Williams for making the mobile scanner project a reality.
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