International Customs Day Message
In celebration of International Customs Day, the World Customs Organization has dedicated 2023 to Nurturing the Next Generation: promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing and professional pride in Customs. Every year on January 26th, International Customs day celebrates the important role of Customs officials and agencies in maintaining the flow of goods across the world’s borders. The Sint Maarten Customs department also observes this year’s International Customs day, as we reflect on the critical role of the Customs department for the country Sint Maarten.
The general objective of the Customs department is to control the flow of goods along the borders of Sint Maarten. Some conditions to fulfill the objective are:
Good cooperative relations and support, both internally and externally, acting in a customer-conscious manner, looking at the interests of the customer/partner with an “open mind”, consistency, equal treatment, integrity, an efficient organization with honest and skilled employees, modern equipment, advanced automation, and technology to deliver quality.
Cooperation between all parties especially those in the Justice chain involved in cross-border activities remains essential. It is the key to further development and the engine which drives the Justice chain. We must stand together as we nurture the next generation. By developing consultation, promoting information exchange, and cooperation we also consider the interests of our partners while executing our duties.
It is imperative that Customs officers are well-trained and nurtured. To achieve this the Customs department has the full support of the Honorable Minister of Justice Ms. Anna E. Richardson. In addition, there are strategic partnerships that we benefit from among others, the partnership with Customs Netherlands. Training, twinning, workshops, knowledge transfer, information sharing, and visiting Customs Netherlands’ operations in the Netherlands, are all intended to nurture the next generation of Customs officers. The goal is to have increased productivity, with the understanding that setting clear goals and monitoring progress increase our output. The Customs department strives to strengthen employee engagement with the understanding that employees who know their goals and why these goals are important will have a stronger connection to their work.
From 2018 onward Customs implemented a risk-based approach when controlling the flow of goods at the borders. This is based on the concept of “less is more”. This approach enabled the department to become more efficient and therefore much more effective. The year 2022 marked the most successful year the department has had since its inception in 1996 as it relates to the interception of illegal trade at our border.
Integrity is an important value for Customs officers as we are held to high standards. We act with honor and integrity regardless of whether our actions take place in view of the public or not. As acting Head of Customs, I would like to take this International Customs Day to thank the dedicated brave men and women of this organization, the Customs officers, who show their commitment and dedication day in and day out, to serve and protect the people and visitors of Sint Maarten alike.
Despite the challenges that we encounter, you always find a way to get it done – and done well. Having you on the team makes a huge difference. Congratulations on your day. I wish you the very best in all that you do to serve and protect your country.
Happy Customs Day!
Acting Head of Customs Sint Maarten,
Franklin S. Bernadina