Reese ready to con­tinue at Cus­toms

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - Ro­mario Scott Gleaner Writer

THE MAN cred­ited with the rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion and de­vel­op­ment of the Ja­maica Cus­toms Agency, whose em­ploy­ment con­tract comes to an end on Oc­to­ber 31, is putting out an early sig­nal to his em­ploy­ers that he is “al­ways avail­able to serve”.

Ma­jor Richard Reese, who started his stint in May 2012 on a three-year con­tract as com­mis­sioner of cus­toms, has been the over­seer of the agency which has sur­passed col­lec­tion tar­gets mul­ti­ple times, the lat­est be­ing the June quar­ter this year.

Reese, who had to reap­ply for the top job as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer in 2013 when Ja­maica Cus­toms be­came an ex­ec­u­tive agency, told The Gleaner that he was leav­ing it up to the fi­nan­cial sec­re­tary and the fi­nance min­is­ter to de­ter­mine his fate and fu­ture at the agency.

“I am a per­son who pro­vides my ser­vices and I leave the as­sess­ment of my per­for­mance and de­ter­mi­na­tion to my em­ploy­ers,” he told The Gleaner af­ter a com­mis­sion cer­e­mony of six ve­hi­cles at the agency’s head­quar­ters in Kingston last Friday.


Hav­ing served as a com­mis­sioned mil­i­tary of­fi­cer in the Ja­maica De­fence Force for 13 years and a former di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Of­fice of Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness and Emer­gency Man­age­ment, Reese said he has never been in the busi­ness of ap­prais­ing him­self, but pointed out that his big­gest ac­com­plish­ment at Ja­maica Cus­toms Agency is the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Au­to­mated System for Cus­toms Data (ASYCUDA).

The cus­toms boss added he was proud of “the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy plat­forms and ini­tia­tives ... . Not only to go pa­per­less, but to fa­cil­i­tate trade and en­hance rev­enue”.

But de­spite nu­mer­ous other achieve­ments, Reese ap­pears not to be done with Cus­toms.

Were he to be given another stint as head of the prof­itable agency, he says he would want to com­plete the agency’s re­form agenda. He also said he would im­ple­ment “state-of-the-art fixed and mo­bile cargo X-ray ma­chines with re­al­time re­mote mon­i­tor­ing and im­age cap­ture on ASYCUDA, full in­te­gra­tion of com­put­ers and ASYCUDA, and com­plete [the] hu­man re­source au­to­ma­tion pro­ject.”

Reese told The Gleaner he would also seek to es­tab­lish a new cus­tom house in Mon­tego Bay, St James, and im­ple­ment a fully au­to­mated bro­ker li­cence ap­pli­ca­tion and test­ing system all aimed at in­creas­ing com­pli­ance and ac­count­abil­ity at the agency.

Also on his to-do list is to im­ple­ment ag­ile and re­spon­sive strate­gies, pre-empt­ing the agency’s com­pet­ing mar­kets glob­ally.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw, Reese’s boss, has never been shy about ac­knowl­edg­ing the achieve­ments of the agency un­der Reese, but had ear­lier this year de­manded that the agency in­crease its rev­enue by 40 per cent.

Reese claims he is up to the task. He said that achiev­ing the tar­get set by the fi­nance min­is­ter is a work in progress which he will seek to achieve over time.

His vi­sion of com­plet­ing these far­reach­ing projects could fade away come the end of the month, but, ac­cord­ing to Reese, “or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing Cus­toms are dy­namic. I in­her­ited busi­ness plans, I in­her­ited strate­gies, so even if [I leave], the same would ap­ply [for any­one tak­ing over from me]”.

When The Gleaner con­tacted Shaw on the like­li­hood of Reese’s con­tract be­ing re­newed, he said he was not able to com­ment on the is­sue at this time.

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