May 25, 2021 Philipsburg – The Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna E. Richardson, recently met with the Head of Customs, Mr. Anthony Doran, and members of the Management team; Mr. Franklin Bernadina and Mr. Otto de Vries, to discuss the operations of the Customs departments, along with the yearly planning to get an overview of the team’s executions and the financial statistics.
This meeting was requested by the minister as a way to build a stronger working relationship through information exchange and open dialogue to identify ways in which the ministry can be of support. The Minister has scheduled meetings with all department heads in the coming weeks to further discuss their operations and gain more insight as to how they can be facilitated in optimizing their duties.
In the meeting, Minister Richardson was given a PowerPoint presentation sharing an overview of the breakdown of the department – its growth, strength & weakness, along with its responsibilities and goals. The minister expressed the importance of these meetings, stating that “as a minister, having a better understanding of the agencies allows for better support. My goal is to be able to facilitate and strengthen all of the agencies on the island. To do so, I must first have a discussion to know what their strengths are and in what areas they are in need of extra support. The goals of the various agencies are a reflection of the goals of the ministry, and that is for a safe and secure Sint Maarten.”
The meeting proved to be informative and constructive, as the minister was given a detailed overview of the department and a site visit to ports where the Customs are operational. The Management team of Customs gave the minister a thorough tour in which she was able to witness the execution side of their operations and the framework of the Customs department.
The site visit was conducted to give the minister more insight into the day-to-day operations, the responsibilities of the officers, and how the officers execute their tasks. Part of the visit involved showing the minister how the officers select which cargo they inspect and how the inspection is executed is based on a risk analysis that is first conducted. Minister Richardson was able to experience exactly how the Customs operate at the cargo handling facility of Tropical Shipping, where she was given a detailed explanation of how counterfeit products are examined and their control process.
A site visit was also conducted at the Airport where Minister Richardson met with the Customs officers working there. At the airport, the minister was given a tour and insight on how their operations are executed specifically at the airport, and how it differs from the operation at the harbor.
As an ongoing effort to strengthen the agencies, Minister Richardson will be meeting with all the agencies to discuss ways to improve all operations across the ministry of justice.