Jamaica Customs Agency and FID Sign Strategic MoU

Done deal – Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker and the FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay shake hands after signing the MoU.

The Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at strengthening both organisations’ response to, among other things, money laundering, organised crime, fraud and financial crimes.

The MoU was signed by the JCA’s CEO and Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker and the FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay during an event staged at the FID’s offices.

The bilateral agreement is aimed at strengthening the strategic working relationship between the entities as well as fostering deeper levels of collaboration with information-sharing as its core pillar. Both organisations will provide each other with intelligence in various forms.

The JCA will provide the FID with access to customs areas, necessary information and more. Meanwhile, the FID will provide the JCA with among other things, technical support, training and proper management of cash seizure investigations.

This will bolster the JCA’s and the FID’s criminal investigations; it will assist both organisations in executing their statutory mandates, powers and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay (2nd right) has the attention of (l-r) Dalila Jones-Kerr Public Relations Officer at the Jamaica Customs Agency, Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker and Courtney Smith (right) the Director of Legal Services at the FID.

FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay said, “Today’s signing is important and significant; the work done by both entities is a critical part of the country’s anti-money laundering framework. The JCA’s duty and function in border protection feeds into the delivery of our mandate in combatting financial crime.

This MoU will formalise the longstanding arrangement and working relationship we’ve had over the years. The issues of major organised crime to include drug trafficking and firearms trafficking are being tackled. The role that Jamaica Customs plays is crucial and so is the partnership with other law enforcement agencies. Formalising our collaboration in this way today will put us all in a stronger position.

Last year (2021) we set out to sign MoUs with key partners;  these included the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and  the Integrity Commission. The one to close out the ‘big four’ was the Jamaica Customs Agency and here we are today.”

Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker shares with the audience, the FID’s Chief Technical Director Selvin Hay looks on.

Meanwhile, JCA’s CEO Velma Ricketts Walker noted, “The Jamaica Customs Agency welcomes more partnerships such as this as we uphold our Mission, to include Border Protection, and remain relentless in making certain criminal transnational networks are stifled, individuals become compliant.

It will allow for greater collaboration in the exchange of information to proactively combat the cross-border movement of organized criminal activities. Though we investigate, it tends to be a past event; but what we do in our collaboration with information sharing serves as a proactive or preventative measure.

The joint use of intelligence will assist us in monitoring the movement and patterns of criminals and to detect, investigate and prosecute the breaches of any applicable laws.”