Turks and Caicos Islands launches Border Force

The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services in Turks and Caicos has taken a significant step forward in enhancing border security with the launch of the first phase of Turks and Caicos Islands Border Force. Border Force will see the transformation of the legacy Customs Department, Immigration Department, and Work Permit Unit, with all areas brought together to form one dynamic, responsive and flexible approach to managing TCI’s border protection. The threats to TCI’s borders have

grown significantly in recent years and transforming the way the borders are operated will put the TCI in a better position to be able to respond to threats and challenges while facilitating legitimate trade, visitors and residents. Leading the charge is the newly appointed Director General, Emilio Seymour, who will oversee the suite of changes being made over the next six months, and beyond. An evidence-based, redesigned structure will allow better targeting and flexing of resources, alongside a clear focus on customer service delivery, with three main operational areas; inland operations, port operations and a separate ‘services’ function – all underpinned and supported by a new Intelligence Unit. In the immediate future Border Force will deliver border protection services, and enforces the laws, across four of the Islands that comprise of the TCI. The new organisation is expected to be rolled out a number of phases over the year.  

Dominica Customs and Excise Division Announces TradeStream’s Pilot

ROSEAU, Dominica — The Customs and Excise Division, together with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Agriculture, and Digitised Solutions Ltd., is thrilled to unveil the pilot phase of TradeStream – Dominica. The platform promises to be a game-changer, offering a multi-agency collaborative workflow that optimizes the import licence procedure and Plant Quarantine cargo inspection at Roseau, Dominica’s main cargo port. Further enhancing user experience, the platform integrates with the Government of Dominica’s online payment service to enable hassle-free payment of Customs Taxes and other services offered on TradeStream.

 

About the Multi-Agency Collaborative Pilot Phase:

The pilot phase is setting new benchmarks in efficiency and collaboration:

  1. Import Licence Procedure for the Ministry of Trade: Streamlines the multi-agency application, review, and approval process for import licenses.
  2. Plant Quarantine Cargo Inspection at Roseau Port: Accelerates cargo inspection and release by interconnecting various agencies involved in the process.
  3. Integration with Government’s Online Payment Service: Facilitates easy online payment for Customs Taxes and services from other participating agencies, making the entire trade process more user-friendly and efficient.

Montserrat Customs Officers Successfully Complete Two-Week Attachment with Antigua Customs Division

 

The Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service wishes to announce the successful completion of a two-week period of attachment for Six Junior and Trainee Customs Officers and one supervisor with the Antigua Customs Division. The period of attachment ran from August 7th to 18th with the officers departing Montserrat on the 6th of August and returning on Island the 19th of August.

While in Antigua, the team worked primarily at busy customs stations such as: Airport Customs Baggage Unit, the Custom Enforcement Unit, Heritage Quay Cruise Ship Processing Unit, The Deep Water Harbor Cargo Transit shed and Tariff Unit, Air Cargo Tariff Unit and Air Cargo Warehouse operations as well as at the English Harbor and Jolly Harbor Yacht processing stations.
As part of the entry training and induction of new Customs officers, they would generally be required to attend a Regional Junior Basic Customs Officers training course before they are confirmed into post.
This course is held in a neighboring island.
Montserrat has not been able to send anyone to these courses since 2019, because of the Covid Pandemic when no such in-person courses were held. While there are some theoretical courses done online, the MCRS found practical demonstration and hands-on experience to be essential to allow for proper understanding and development of related skills. As a result, the MCRS reached out to the Antigua Customs Division and sought their assistance in accommodating this period of attachment for some the officers.

Jamaica switches to digital travel declaration

  The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority has switched to an online paperless travel declaration system, and from Friday, it will be mandatory for all passengers travelling to the island, including Jamaican nationals, to use the Online Passenger Declaration Form instead of the paper C5 form. Cayman Airways urged passengers to go online before flying this…

CCLEC 45th Annual Conference – Cayman Islands

The 45th Conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) was held in the Cayman Islands from June 5-9, 2023. Twenty-five member administrations and a number of strategic partners attended the conference which took place at the Westin Hotel hosted with the full support of the Director and staff of the Customs Border Control Service.

Mr Ian Saunders of the USA, a candidate for the post of Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), delivered the Keynote address. In his address, Mr Saunders shared his vision for leading the WCO to provide high-quality, responsive services to its members by drawing on its rich past, optimizing present efforts, and driving Customs toward a safe, prosperous, and inclusive future.   He highlighted the intersection of WCO work with matters of importance to CCLEC members and the importance of cultivating customs cooperation within the WCO as well as beyond WCO membership.

The conference showcased a number of presentations of best practice initiatives and progress made on reforms by regional and international Customs administrations including Bermuda, Cayman Islands Jamaica, Turks and Caicos’ Islands, India Customs Service, and the World Customs Organisation. The meeting also received presentations and pledges of support from the Caribbean Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC), the Institute of Export and International Trade, and the Western Europe RILO.

CCLEC Representatives Meet with WCO Secretary General

CCLEC Permanent Secretary, Claude Paul, along with representatives from St. Lucia, Bermuda and the Netherlands met with the WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, and representatives of the Compliance and Enforcement Directorate to discuss matters of mutual interest. This included a revision of the current MOU between CCLEC and WCO, exploring ways to improve information exchange including with non-WCO members, and identifying areas for collaborating in capacity building to enhance operations of Customs administrations.

Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) Graduation Ceremony for New Recruits –January 27th, 2023

The CBC has successfully delivered training to twenty four new officers using a combination of online training and instructor-led training. The CCLEC online Junior Officer Basic course formed an integral part of the training program which provided new recruits with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their duties as officers within the CBC.  The CCLEC JOB course consists of twenty-one modules which covers the full range of customs operations and was a critical element in the transformation process towards establishing the CBC with its multi-agency functions.

International Customs Day 2023

 

In observance of International Customs Day, the WCO’s theme for 2023 is “Nurturing the next generation: promoting a culture of knowledge-sharing and professional pride in Customs.” This theme is very relevant to the Customs fraternity in the region and the CCLEC is committed to working with member administrations to build capacity in keeping with this goal.

Customs is a complex organisation with multi-facetted functions and responsibilities that are often misunderstood and underestimated even by business leaders, government officials, and the general public. Most people tend to focus on the revenue collection role, which invokes emotional responses from those who are required to pay border taxes on importation. In this region, customs duties are relatively high compared to more developed and emerging countries, and in some instances represent over 50% of the annual revenue yield in some of our smaller economies. Governments have become very reliant on Customs and VAT for financing a major part of annual budgets. Notwithstanding the above, it is important to point out that the mission of Customs in today’s context includes a fiscal element (revenue collection) an economic element (implementing government policies), and a protection and security element (law enforcement and compliance). All three aspects are intrinsically linked to international trade. [1]

Those charged to perform the duties of a Customs officer must be well trained, knowledgeable of various legislation, regulations, directives, and administrative instructions. They must also be equipped with the necessary tools to effectively and efficiently carry out those duties.

Message from the Permanent Secretary

I wish to take this opportunity to extend greetings to all member administrations as we usher in the New Year. 2023 will be a pivotal year for the Caribbean Customs community as we work together to restore our position on the regional landscape particularly in law enforcement, contributing to border security, efficiency in trade matters and effective revenue protection and collection.

Our number priority is to complete the transition from CCLEC to the Caribbean Customs Organisation (CCO) by finalizing the ratification process for the new CCO Treaty within the respective member countries. This will be an immediate boost to the image of this organisation and will certainty help with the realignment of our strategic goals and determining a new direction based on membership needs and priorities.

Customs Administrations are essential to fulfill the mandates of their respective governments by working with other agencies on the national front. There is an increasing awareness of the urgency to cooperate on a regional basis through engagement with established institutions involved in trade and related matters. The success of our region is heavily dependent on engendering a cooperative ethos within a regional space pregnant with new opportunities and possibilities for collaboration.  The current environment of fierce competition for limited resources and overlapping agendas must be replaced by a recognition of the respective areas of competence and strengths and a genuine effort to work together by forging better relationships between customs administrations, the business communities and other regional partner organisations.