News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – “The role of the men and women in the Customs Department will be crucial as we strengthen our resources against illicit drugs and weapons,” declared Minister of National Security Michael Weeks, as he inspected the LF Wade International Airport’s Customs operations.
Minister Weeks’ recent visit was a continuation of his undertaking to learn about the key departments and functions within the Ministry of National Security.
Collector of Customs Lucinda Pearman and Assistant Collector Tracey Kelly accompanied him. He was able to observe the operations of the entire airport Customs team as well as immigration officers.
The tour covered the Employee Screening Area and the Immigration Arrivals and Customs Secondary Inspection area.
Minister Weeks was also given an explanation of the tools used by Customs Officers in detecting contraband, including the body scanner and X-ray equipment in the new facility.
The Minister, whose visit included an observation of the passenger custody area, added: “Shutting down the border to drugs and weapons remains one of my top priorities.
“In July, I talked about the importance of cutting off the supply of such contraband, which, unfortunately, is a crucial element in our fight against gangs and community violence.
“Often, Customs officers do not get the full credit they deserve for their onerous work for our collective security. I wanted to thank them in person and show them my support.” The Minister also saw how the Customs cashiers collected revenue, including the kiosk machines’ function.
Elsewhere, Collector Pearman, Assistant Collector Sharmette Pond, Senior Officer Gary Bremar, Principal Officer Tanya Quinn and the Seaport Enforcement team met with the Minister to brief him on the operations of the three primary cargo vessels that supply Bermuda.
Those vessels are the MV Oleander, MV Somers Isles and the MV Bermuda Islander, which arrive weekly from New Jersey and Florida.
His briefing included how Customs conducts risk assessments on incoming cargo using the ship’s manifest and intelligence information from local and overseas resources to determine which shipment will be inspected.
“I was pleased to be given an in-depth overview of the process of how Officers in the cargo office operate the X-Ray Scanner and transverse the containers through the X-Ray Hall, inspect the image and the Bermuda Customs Declaration simultaneously for compliance and inconsistencies and the subsequent tagging of containers for further inspections based on risk assessment,” the Minister added.