Jamaica Customs continues to boost its border protection

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Border management encompasses national security, border protection, economic and social security and technological advancements that have and will continue to vastly change the arena of travel and trade in the 21st century.

Globalisation has also bolstered the connectivity of criminal activity and the threats are a growing concern. With large volumes of goods and passengers moving across borders daily, it is critical that border entities, such as the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), are equipped with the necessary resources, infrastructure, and technology, needed to identify potential security risks.

In this respect, the JCA, over the last decade, has made tremendous improvements in its Information Communication Technology (ICT) landscape, as well as its systems and processes.

Technological enhancements to border security such as intelligent video and X-ray capabilities, crane-mounted sensors, non-intrusive cargo inspections, remotely operated vehicles and luggage scanners form a part of the agency's arsenal.

The procurement of databases aimed at enhancing the JCA's risk and intelligence capabilities, as well as the World Customs Cargo Targeting System, provide ease of data analysis, easier trend identification and criteria selectivity.

To further boost its border protection capabilities, the agency has embarked on improving infrastructure at ports of entry, facilitating public-private partnerships aimed at increasing investment in foreign visitor processing, and has continued the use of technologies that help to secure the land and maritime borders.

As a result of enhanced security measures, the Border Protection Division of the JCA, for the period January to December 2018 was successful in making seizures of:

• Approximately US$500,000

• $10 million worth of illicit cigarettes

• Cocaine with a street value of approximately $140 million and

• Marijuana with an approximate street value of $50 million

Additionally, the Agency has also taken action against the infringement of intellectual property, document security and supply chain vulnerabilities.

The JCA is cognisant that enhanced border-protection measures will serve to further boost its trade facilitation and compliance mechanisms, which inevitably, require the use of advanced border-management technology to complement the human element.

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