Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) Hosts 46th Annual Conference in Nassau, Bahamas

The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) celebrated its 46th Annual Conference in Nassau, Bahamas from May 29th to 31st, 2024, under the theme “Transforming the Customs Landscape to Meet Changing Needs.” The main objective of the CCLEC Annual Conference is to foster networking between Customs Comptrollers and strategic partners on both regional and international levels.

 

The conference saw attendance from representatives of 22 countries, along with various regional and international observers, including the World Customs Organization, CARICOM IMPACS, Korean Customs/CUPIA, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The opening ceremony welcomed distinguished guests, including diplomatic corps members, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Government departments, member administration delegates, and other esteemed attendees. The keynote address was delivered by the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, the Honorable Phillip E. Davis. In his address, he highlighted CCLEC’s pivotal role in bringing together Customs administrations in the region since 1989, enhancing their ability to enforce customs laws, combat illicit activities, and facilitate legitimate trade through collaboration and knowledge sharing.

PRIME MINISTER PHILIP DAVIS’S REMARKS AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 46TH ANNUAL CARIBBEAN CUSTOMS LAW ENFORCEMENT COUNCIL

It’s a pleasure to be here today at the 46th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC).

I welcome all delegates, distinguished guests, and representatives from across our region and beyond, who have gathered here in the capital of our beautiful Bahamas.

Your presence is encouraging, as it demonstrates a commitment to fostering cooperation, enhancing customs enforcement, and promoting economic prosperity in the Caribbean.

Since its establishment in 1989, CCLEC has played a pivotal role in uniting customs administrations across our region.

This council has significantly strengthened our ability to enforce customs laws, combat illicit activities, and facilitate legitimate trade through collaboration and knowledge sharing. The theme of this year’s conference, “Transforming the Customs Landscape to Meet Changing Needs,” aptly captures the essence of our ongoing mission, and the challenges we face in an ever-evolving global landscape.

This conference serves as a reminder of the critical role that customs administrations play in safeguarding our borders, enhancing revenue collection, and ensuring the smooth facilitation of trade.

It will also highlight the importance of protecting our economies from the threats posed by smuggling, fraud, and other illicit activities.

In today’s world, where technological advancement and globalization continue to reshape the dynamics of trade and security, it is imperative that we remain agile and innovative, as we keep up with modern trends.

Over the next few days, this conference will serve as a vital platform for discussing and exploring cutting-edge strategies and technologies that can enhance our customs operations. From advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence to blockchain and other emerging technologies, the sessions will provide invaluable insights into how we can leverage these tools to build capacity while improving efficiency, accuracy, and security in our customs processes.

WCO/CCLEC Collaboration

Mr. Pranab Das, Director of Compliance and Facilitation at the World Customs Organization (WCO), and Mr Duncan Potter, WCO regional representative, met with the Permanent Secretary of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024, at the CCLEC Secretariat to explore avenues for strengthening collaboration between the two organizations. The meeting underscored…

Success Achieved in Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council’s Junior Officer Basic Course

In a significant milestone for customs administration in the Caribbean, 66 students representing St. Vincent, Anguilla, Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Montserrat participated in the Junior Officer Basic Course, organized by the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC).

The course, designed to elevate the skills and expertise of customs officers, saw remarkable achievements. Led by industry experts, the program delved into crucial facets of customs administration, encompassing regulations, enforcement methodologies, and industry best practices.

Among the notable accomplishments were the conferral of three distinction awards, highlighting outstanding performance. Two of these prestigious honors were secured by participants from St. Vincent, with one student from Jamaica earning recognition.

An impressive passing rate of 80% further underscored the effectiveness of the intensive training regimen. Participants, drawn from diverse backgrounds, enriched the learning environment with their varied perspectives and experiences, engaging in interactive sessions to gain comprehensive insights into the intricacies of customs enforcement and collaborative strategies.

Address by the PS on the occasion of the observance of 2024 International Customs Day

The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council wishes to extend congratulations and best wishes to all regional Customs Administrations and the wider international Customs fraternity on the occasion of International Customs Day, being celebrated on January 26, 2024. The significance of this day and date is linked to the origins of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and this year’s theme is dedicated to: “Customs Engaging Traditional and New Partners with Purpose”.  This theme is relevant to us in the region as we transition into a treaty-based organisation, but more importantly as we embrace the significance of new trends and opportunities for improving and enhancing the role of customs administrations within the respective countries.

The work of Customs in the region remains strategically important to achieving Governments’ fiscal targets as well as other economic and social policy imperatives. The customs mandate is ever expanding beyond the traditional roles, for example, to incorporate environmental issues within the context of climate change and the thrust towards implementing sustainable development goals. There are also threats and concerns related to cyber security and the impact of technology including artificial intelligence (AI) on the operating systems and processes. There is an urgent need to reassess and improve the skills sets of customs officials, in view of placing greater emphasis on data management and analytics, to facilitate the effective use of risk management systems and intelligence led decision-making at all levels of the organisations.

Our law enforcement and revenue recovery efforts must be focused on greater collaborative approaches between Customs administrations on one hand and the wider network of law enforcement capabilities at the regional and international levels. Information and data exchange has become the lifeblood of our existence and tendencies towards insularity and a reluctance to securely share pertinent information is hindering our progress. The value of the CCLEC, CARICOM IMPACS and the WCO will never be fully realized if we continue to restrict ourselves in these ways.