News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – In recognition of International Customs Day, which is Sunday, January 26th, the Customs Department will host a number of activities next week to raise awareness about the work of the Department.

This year’s International Customs Day theme is ‘Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and Planet’.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in the week of activities, which includes their annual open house, a church service and the annual Colin Smith Run, Walk, Ride Fun Race.

Today the Minister of National Security, Wayne Caines, who will attend Thursday’s Open House, said: “Our men and women of the Customs Department continue their important work of revenue collection and interdiction and interception at our ports of entry. They provide an invaluable role as part of our uniformed services in safeguarding and securing our community. We are appreciative of the work they do in contributing to the economic and social stability of our community. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the public to attend the Department’s Annual Open House on January 30th to learn more about the important role of the Customs Department.”

The week starts with Officers attending an 11.00 a.m. church service Sunday, January 26th at the St. Paul’s AME Church.

On Tuesday, January 28th, there will be an “Awareness Day”, which will see Customs Officers take to the streets of Hamilton and St. George’s between 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. Officers will express their appreciation to the public and raise the level of awareness of the Customs Department and the important role they play in Bermuda.

On Wednesday, January 29th, the annual Colin Smith Run, Walk, Ride Fun Race, named in honour of the former Senior Customs Officer, will start at 9.00 a.m. from the Executive Jet Facility at Southside. Members of the public are welcomed to participate.

On Thursday, January 30th there will be an Open House at The Pier (#6 Cruise Ship Terminal – Upper Level), Front Street where there will be a series of displays and demonstrations. The public will have an opportunity to interact with Customs Officers and ask any questions they may have.

About International Customs Day

Instituted by the World Customs Organization (WCO), International Customs Day is held on January 26, and commemorates the day in 1953 when the inaugural session of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was held in Brussels, Belgium. Seventeen European countries attended this session. In 1994 the CCC was renamed World Customs Organization (WCO) and today custom organizations from 179 countries are WCO members.

International Customs Day (ICD) recognizes the role of custom officials and agencies in maintaining border security. Custom agencies hold employee appreciation events where custom officers are recognized for their exemplary service. Workshops, conferences and talks that focus on the year’s theme and the challenges that agencies and officers face are also held.

Several agencies also hold public outreach events where they educate the public about their jobs and responsibilities.