Shaw eyes Christie for Cus­toms

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Arthur Hall Se­nior News Ed­i­tor arthur.hall@glean­erjm.com

For­mer con­trac­tor gen­eral be­ing tapped to re­place Reese

THE MIN­ISTRY of Finance is re­port­edly look­ing at for­mer Con­trac­tor Gen­eral Greg Christie to be the next head of the Ja­maica Cus­toms Agency.

Sun­day Gleaner sources say Christie is be­ing hand-picked to re­place Ma­jor Richard Reese, whose three-year con­tract ex­pires at the end of this month.

Ac­cord­ing to the sources, Christie is be­ing seen as the right man for the job as the Govern­ment goes after a pro­posed 40 per cent in­crease in Cus­toms rev­enue.

Ac­cord­ing to Finance Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw, in­creas­ing the Cus­toms rev­enue by 20 to 40 per cent is doable.

“When we com­bine ASYCUDA (Au­to­mated Sys­tem for Cus­toms Data) and the PCS (Port Com­mu­nity Sys­tem) and de­lib­er­ately root out cor­rup­tion at Cus­toms, then, believe it or not, we can in­crease the rev­enue from Cus­toms by any­where from 20 to 40 per cent,” Shaw said dur­ing a Na­tional In­tegrity Ac­tion anti-cor­rup­tion event.

This was given a guarded re­sponse by Reese, who warned that Cus­toms could not guar­an­tee that it will meet the chal­lenge thrown out by the finance min­is­ter.

PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS

“I can­not say how much more we will achieve, but in other words, we’re to pull out all the stops and col­lect what is due,” Reese said in his im­me­di­ate re­sponse.

That re­port­edly led to raised eye­brows at He­roes’ Cir­cle where the finance min­istry is based and led to sug­ges­tions that Christie, a tough-talk­ing at­tor­ney-at-law and anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paigner, would be ide­ally suited to con­tinue the rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of Cus­toms, which was started un­der Reese.

Finance Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw, who is slated to re­turn to the is­land today after lead­ing a Govern­ment of Ja­maica del­e­ga­tion to Wash­ing­ton, DC, to at­tend the an­nual meet­ings of the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund and the World Bank Group, re­cently re­fused to com­ment on whether Reese would be of­fered a new con­tract, but the ex-army man has made no se­cret that he wants to stay.

“I am a per­son who pro­vides my Finance Min­is­ter Aud­ley Shaw.

ser­vices and I leave the as­sess­ment of my per­for­mance and de­ter­mi­na­tion to my em­ploy­ers,” Reese told The Gleaner less than two weeks ago.

Ac­cord­ing to Reese, were he to be given an­other stint as head of Cus­toms, he would want to com­plete the agency’s re­form agenda and im­ple­ment “state-of-the-art fixed and mo­bile cargo For­mer Con­trac­tor Gen­eral Greg Christie could be head­ing to Cus­toms.

X-ray ma­chines with real-time re­mote mon­i­tor­ing and im­age cap­ture on ASYCUDA, full in­te­gra­tion of com­put­ers and ASYCUDA, and com­plete (the) hu­man re­source au­to­ma­tion project”.

Reese, who led the trans­for­ma­tion of Cus­toms from a govern­ment de­part­ment to an ex­ec­u­tive agency in 2013, has pointed to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ASYCUDA as his big­gest achieve­ment dur­ing his stint which started in 2012.

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)”.

Last week, Christie told The Sun­day Gleaner that he was not aware of any plan to have him head Cus­toms, and sug­gested that if there was a va­cancy in the lead­er­ship of the agency the post would have to be ad­ver­tised and the ap­point­ment made in line with Govern­ment rules.

Since the An­drew Hol­ness-led ad­min­is­tra­tion was sworn in the for­mer con­trac­tor gen­eral has been ap­pointed to the boards of the Fac­to­ries Cor­po­ra­tion of Ja­maica, the AgroIn­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion and the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for En­vi­ron­men­tal and Nu­clear Science.

FILE

CHRISTIE AWARE OF ANY PLAN

JER­MAINE BARNABY/ FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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