Yesterday saw the retirement of John Rodriguez who has served HM Government of Gibraltar for nearly 38 years, the last 15 of those as Collector of Customs. During that time he has served with two different administrations and seen the department grow into the modern and professional organization it is today; securing an array of new premises and the purchasing of assets such as patrol cars and vessels.
One of his biggest achievements was the Review of 2014, which saw Customs Officers obtain Law Enforcement recognition. It also included a restructure that not only expanded the officer numbers in the different sections, but also created the Controls Section at the commercial gate and a permanent Marine Section that affords the jurisdiction 24hr presence at sea.
Mr.Rodriguez also promoted and implemented the upgrade from the then existing customs software to ASYCUDA World, which was developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The program caters for all imports, exports, transit and transhipment of goods within Gibraltar. The data collected is an essential tool for Government’s statistical economic analysis. The departing Collector was also instrumental in setting up the UNCTAD Centre of Excellence, which is hosted by the University of Gibraltar since 2016.
In recent times, the Collector has been a key stakeholder on many aspects of the Brexit negotiations, often assisting the Chief Minister and accompanying him in discussions with the UK, Spain and the EU. He has laid the foundations for such work to continue now and in the future.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a small presentation took place at Custom House during which Mr Rodriguez was presented with a commemorative plaque that paid tribute to his hard work and commitment; and recognized his personal sacrifices and that of his family. In an emotional address to those present, he thanked all past and present officers for their support and dedication. He said that he had always given his very best to meet the needs of every individual and to serve the community.
His colleagues and friends at HM Customs thank him for his efforts and vision; and wish John and his family all the very best in this new chapter of their lives.