Customs Managers receive multidisciplinary training

A group photo of the Customs Middle Managers and officials at the head table from Monday’s opening ceremony

St. Kitts, January 18, 2011 (SKNIS): Middle Managers at the Customs and Excise Department in St. Kitts and Nevis are taking a step back from their day to day responsibilities to receive training that will advance their effectiveness in a management post.

At the start of a five-day workshop which began yesterday (Monday, January 17), the mid level officers were informed that areas for review would include leadership, coaching, team building, negotiation skills, media management and managing conflict.

Comptroller of Customs Rodney Harris informed his colleagues that customer feedback played a role in the design of this course.

“The Customs and Excise listens and understands the concerns of our customers and will seek to address these concerns as much as possible,” he said. “One critical area is the level of service that we give. This management course will introduce to our mangers the substance which [will] allow them to blossom and … produce an improved level of service to our customers.”

Government’s Financial Secretary Janet Harris challenged the participants to embrace the critical review and strengthening exercise as the role of the Customs and Excise Department is growing and the twin-island Federation evolves. She noted that while the economy continues to recover from the global recession and new foreign investments are being welcomed, officials must be mindful to prevent negative elements from entering the country.

“As a border enforcement agency, you have the daunting task of providing public protection,” said Mrs. Harris. “… Therefore you must devise strategies to mitigate these risks. We expect that this course will help you in that area.”

Formulation of such strategies will be aided under the tutelage of Andy Argyle a retired official from Her Majesty’s (HM) Customs International Relations Division in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Argyle is expected to draw on his years of experience working for international institutions such as the World Bank and World Trade Organization during his facilitation of the Middle Management Training Workshop. He has helped devise and push forward capacity building and management development for the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) and noted that the Government is to be commended.

“St. Kitts and Nevis certainly for CCLEC is something of a star body because you as a Customs and Excise Department are particularly proactive and you have a high level of engagement with training in general and in particular with recognizing the need for management training.”

The sessions will cover some topics outlined in an academic management programme of the University of Canberra Faculty of Customs and Excise Studies located in Australia. The University offers Diploma and Degree level certifications and participants were encouraged to enroll for online classes at after the local training is completed.

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