Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie (FILE)
FREEPORT – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie has called on Assistant Comptroller of Customs in Grand Bahama, Sherick Martin to begin right away preparing another group of Customs recruits for another Customs Training programme.
The appeal from the Prime Minister came during his address of the 22 new recruits who officially graduated on Wednesday during a ceremony at the Bahamas Union of Teachers Hall.
Prime Minister Christie said his request for the formation of another immediate training programme comes in light of the fact that the country’s expanding economy demands more Customs Officers, not just in Grand Bahama or Nassau, but throughout The Bahamas.
“In speaking with the Minister of Tourism and knowing the extent to which the economy is being expanded, which will create an additional need for even more Customs Officers, I’m minded to make policy right now on my feet,” the Prime Minister said at the beginning of his address.
“As I think of those areas where you only have one officer – which is even dangerous to that officer – you can see why there ought to be coverage that goes beyond one person.
“We’ve just indicated a new destination at Ocean Cay, which will require the appointment of more Customs Officers to that Port of Call. There are at least over 5 000 passengers a week on cruise ships going into that destination.
“By the Heads of Agreement we entered into with Baker’s Bay in Abaco, we have agreed to have a Port of Entry there at that destination as well. So, that also calls for more Customs Officers. From a pure necessity point of view, we have agreed that we would establish a port of call in Mangrove Cay and that too will call for more Customs Officers.”
The Prime Minister advised that they take another look at the hundreds of applicants who were not chosen to be a part of the class, with a view of putting together another class as soon as possible for Grand Bahama.
With “the anticipated economic boom in the various Family Islands concomitant with the migration of human resource, the Customs Department is expected to respond in kind,” said Prime Minister Christie. “So, with immediate effect, some of you graduates will join the ranks of your fellow officers stationed on those affected islands.
“It is not merely a desk job where you can hopefully expect a long and secured career with benefits, but you are beginning a career today which is critical in the overall scheme of things when it comes to the governance of our country. Today, you may be in Grand Bahama, but your career path may very well take you to other far-flung stations in The Bahamas as the exigencies of the service demands.
“You are expected as faithful and obedient public officers to always be obedient to the call.” (PR)