WCO Conference on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC)

The World Customs Organization (WCO) in collaboration with the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council and St Lucia Customs hosted the first WCO Conference on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) for the Caribbean, at the Bay Gardens Resort, St. Lucia, on 26-30 November 2018. The conference brought together Customs Administrations from Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Belize, BVI, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

The objective of this Conference was to enhance the general knowledge of the RKC among Customs administrations in the Caribbean region, to identify accession and implementation gaps and challenges, as well as exploring potential solutions for accession to the RKC.

The World Customs Organization’s Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) brings together all WCO tools to bear on Customs modernization in support of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) for the simplification and harmonization of Customs processes.

International Anti-Corruption Day 2018.

Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes.…

Congratulations to Jamaica (WCO Photo Award)

CCLEC congratulates Jamaica on winning the 2018 photo competition.

The WCO has awarded Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) the best Customs photo for the photo competition. The photo competition provides WCO members with a means to showcase their administration’s history, activities and successes.

Commissioner Velma Ricketts Walker received the award on behalf of her department.

17th WCO IT Conference & Exhibition, Lima, Peru

Mr Raju Boddu, Comptroller of Antigua& Barbuda Customs and Chair of CCLEC Finance Committee, represented CCLEC at the 17th WCO IT Conference & Exhibition which was held in Lima, Peru. Delegates from seventy five countries attended the event which took place from June 6-8, 2018.

Mr Boddu presented on the topic “Connecting dots in Maritime Environment”, with particular reference to Trade Facilitation, Border Security and Revenue collection which are the main functions of the customs administrations.

He described the different actors and entities in the Maritime Environment, the enormity of growing marine traffic and seaborne trade and outlined the challenges in connecting the dots; the challenges being (1) Varied legislative arrangements (2) differing National priorities in relation to border security (3) non-cooperative border agencies(4) Infrastructure inadequacies (5) Capacity and competence issues (6) Different technologies and their inter-inoperability and (7) Resource constraints

He highlighted the security challenges in the Caribbean context and the interventions of CCLEC in implementing the Regional Clearance System (RCS) for small vessels and CARICOM IMPACS Advanced Cargo Information System (ACIS).

“In the context of the complex Customs ecosystem, the actual implementation of profiling, targeting and enforcement is a herculean task if one has to depend on traditional way of managing borders” he said.

CCLEC CELEBRATES ITS 40TH CONFERENCE

The CCLEC 40th Conference was convened in Miami from May 23-26, 2018 under the theme Strengthening the Exchange of Information for Integrated Border Management and Risk Management to Facilitate Legitimate Trade”. Twenty two countries were in attendance as well as regional and international organisations. CCLEC was pleased to welcome Japan Customs, who was attending for the first time.

The opening ceremony was chaired by Ms Hazel Edwards of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).  Director General of Haiti and Chairman of the 40th Conference, Mr Jean Jorel Janvier, welcomed the delegates and the representative from the WCO, Mr Leigh Winchell, Deputy Director for Compliance and Enforcement delivered the opening address.  The keynote address was delivered by Mrs Velma Ricketts Walker, Commissioner of Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).

In her address, Mrs Walker noted that the advent of the information technology revolution has resulted in an extremely dynamic Customs environment with many Customs administrations having to respond to exponential increases in the volume of trade. She underlined the use of ICT, Single Window for strengthening the exchange of information and risk management as key to managing the changing landscape.

The region was also urged to be cognisant of the emerging security challenges at its borders. The ongoing unrest in Venezuela, the vulnerabilities associated with the expanding Economic Citizen program and the radicalization of individuals from the region travelling to the Middle East were cited as real border security threats.

She emphasised the need for robust information sharing between Customs administrations and border agencies. She said “If criminal networks can successfully strengthen transnational information sharing and build illicit empires…what of law enforcement? Will we adjust our sails to effectively mitigate against adverse and changing winds? We must answer the call to protect our nation’s borders while facilitating legitimate trade.”

Antigua Gov’t examining legislation allowing for controlled cultivation of marijuana

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — The Antigua and Barbuda government says it hopes to be able to pass legislation that would allow for marijuana to be grown under control conditions or with licences and to be processed like any pharmaceutical in a laboratory that adheres to high standards.

A statement issued after the Cabinet meeting, said that the newly-elected government of Prime Minister Gaston Browne had invited several officials and experts to participate in the deliberations “in order to achieve the most in decision-making”.

The statement noted that a four-person group, including three Canadian, with an interest in producing medical cannabis, “came to Cabinet in order to advise on the kinds of steps required by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda in order to make possible the growing, harvesting, processing and sale of medical cannabis in its many forms”.

The statement said that the government hopes to be able to pass the laws that would allow cannabis to be grown under control conditions and sold in a domestic market, having been transformed into a variety of medicinal products.

“The Cabinet agreed that Canada’s laws are the best fit to be a model, although Britain, Germany, Switzerland and Brazil are pursuing the same path for growers of the cannabis plants.

“The Cabinet learned that the laws of Jamaica have been adapted to achieve similar ends, but the process has proven to be very unwieldy for producers seeking licenses. Canada, the second largest state in geographic size on the planet, has federal laws that make the growing, harvesting and processing of medical cannabis uniform throughout its many Provinces,” the statement noted.

Tender – RCS2018 Development

CCLEC invites tenders for the development  and enhancement of the Regional Clearance and Sail-clear systems.

Interested parties should contact the secretariat for the software requirement specification document.

All proposals should be sent to :

Kennedy Desilva – kennedadesilva@skncustoms.com
CCLEC Secretariat – secretariat@cclec.org

US customs agents intercept thousands of pounds of cocaine in Caribbean Sea

MIAMI, United States (CMC) — The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says its Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected multiple drug-smuggling vessels with 4,735 pounds of cocaine as part of Operation Full Court Press in the Caribbean Sea with interagency partners.

On Wednesday CBP said the estimated wholesale value of the drugs is US$61.7 million.

CBP said crews from Miami Air and Marine Branch and Caribbean Air and Marine Branch used “sophisticated maritime surveillance equipment to detect multiple drug-smuggling vessels as part of multi-agency operations around the holidays.”

It’s reported that the discovery was made between December 18 and December 22.

CBP said Operation Full Court Press is an Air and Marine Operations Southeast Region led operation leveraging interagency partnerships to target maritime smuggling organisations responsible for cocaine trafficking throughout the Caribbean to the United States and elsewhere for distribution.