CCLEC SIGNS TREATY TO ESTABLISH THE CARIBBEAN CUSTOMS ORGANISATION (CCO)

The CCLEC 41st Conference was held in Havana, Cuba on May 22-24, 2019 under the theme

The Pathway to Success: Strength through Unity’. This event was marked by the historical signing of the treaty which will establish the Caribbean Customs Organization (CCO).

The signing ceremony was attended by high level government officials including, on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr Menno Snel, Minister for Finance of Taxation and Customs of the Netherlands, Mrs Xiomara Ruiz-Maduro, Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Culture of Aruba, Mr Kenneth Gijsbertha, Minister of Finance of Curacao, and Mr Cornelius de Weever, Minister of Justice of Sint Maarten, who all signed for their respective countries. Ambassador to Cuba, Mr Andrew Brent, signed on behalf of the Bahamas, and Mr Antony Stokes, UK’s Ambassador to Cuba, signed on behalf of Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Representatives from Customs, Mr Raju Boddu, Comptroller of Customs for Antigua, Mr Nelson E. Cordovés Reyes, Head of Customs for Cuba, Mr Cesar Zorrilla, Manager of the Technical Deliberative Department of the General Customs Directorate for the Dominican Republic, and Mr Fritz Alcindor, Deputy Director General of Haiti signed on behalf of their respective governments.

After three decades of operating under an MOU, members of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) agreed that it was of paramount importance, given the opportunities and challenges presented by technological advancements, to formalize the legal basis for sharing information. The MOU to establish the CCLEC was signed in 1989, an MOU which, although not legally binding, served the organization in meeting its objectives to improve the overall professionalism of its members through cooperation, sharing of best practices, human resource development, modernization, automation, harmonization of processes and procedures and information/intelligence sharing.  However, global security challenges, the need for automatic sharing of information and the advent of several new trade arrangements means that the CCLEC’s role will become more complex. To this end, the need for a more robust legally binding mechanism to improve information and intelligence exchange was necessary.

CCLEC / UKBF Middle Management Training – Miami

The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) with funding from the United Kingdom Border Force (UKBF) conducted a Middle Management and Operational Leadership Course, aimed at Supervisory staff of member Customs administrations.   This course was delivered at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Miami from 12th -14th February 2019.  Eighteen middle managers from the Greater Antilles, Dutch Antilles, the OECS, Central and South America, including Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Guyana attended.

CARMS a UK based human resource development company was contracted to deliver the training course.  CARMS tutors comprised academic and ex law enforcement professionals, with many years of experience in consultancy, training delivery, mentoring, and support services.

The following topics and learning outcomes which were demonstrably achieved were based on European Union Management Competencies.

  1. Understanding the current and future issues and demands of a manager and the organisation
  2. Recognize the need for good leadership practices and the effects different leadership styles can have on individuals and teams
  3. Recognize the need for good Management practices and the effects different management approaches can have on individuals and teams
  4. Explore the roles and responsibilities of a manger in the operational setting

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.”

JIO visit to South Korea – 30th Anniversary RILO A/P

At the invitation of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) Asia/Pacific (A/P), the CCLEC JIO attended the ceremony held in Seoul, Korea on 6 2017 to mark the 30th Anniversary of the first RILO and the birth of the global RILO network. The JIO was one of 10 RILO’s to attend this ceremony.
The WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya was present for this ceremony.

Following the welcome address by the Korea Customs Service Commissioner, Mr. Yung-Moon Kim, Secretary General Mikuriya delivered a congratulatory speech expressing his sincere appreciation to the past four host Administrations of the RILO A/P for their services, namely Hong Kong, China (1987-1998), Japan (1999-2003), China (2004-2011) and Korea (2012- present). He recognised the gradual evolution of the RILO A/P nurtured by the four Administrations: (i) foundation (Hong Kong, China); (ii) capacity building (Japan); (iii) operations (China); (iv) and networking (Korea) with all 33 WCO A/P

Annual Enforcement Conference held in Miami

The annual Enforcement Liaison Officer (ELO) conference was held on 1st& 2nd November 2017 in Miami. In attendance were twenty six (26) countries and representatives of WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Western Europe. The meeting was a joint effort by ODA, CCLEC and member administrations.

This annual meeting is an integral part of the CCLEC enforcement network and WCO National Contact Points. The meeting’s primary objective was to foster closer cooperation with regional and international counterparts and improve networking.

Presentations were made by a Border Force Senior Officer from International Directorate South Americas on Operation Hunter, a representative from Japan Tobacco Industry on tobacco smuggling and a former UNODC consultant, on fuel smuggling. Both the RILOs delivered presentations on work being carried out in their regions.

The JIO presented the report on Operation Caribbean Shield which was held for six weeks in the region.  The Operation was focused on small arms trafficking in the region to assess the level of risk at the borders.

ACIS – Advanced Cargo Information System Meeting

Security protection, health protection, and increased efficiency through advance cargo detection were just three of the primary benefits presented at the recently held meeting of the Advance Cargo Information System (ACIS) Implementation and Oversight Committee (IOC) in Barbados. The meeting which was held on October 17, 2017, represented both a collective and strategic approach by regional Customs administrations towards the implementation of an advance cargo information system which was conceptualized over a decade ago in harmony with the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).

The committee which comprised representatives from Customs Administrations within CARICOM, along with overseeing entities, CARICOM IMPACS and CCLEC, engaged in the critical discussions over the one-day meeting, outlining the operations, opportunities, and objectives of the proposed project. Central to discussions were the benefits to be derived from a collective approach to implementing the ACIS project. These benefits stemmed essentially from the stability the Electronic Manifest Management ASYCUDA System (EMMAS), the robust platform for hosting the proposed ACIS.

By adopting a collective approach,  Customs Administrations are expected to see “data requirements minimized, harmonised and submission guaranteed through a single portal.” Added to this is “the opportunity to enhance cargo supply chain security through pre-arrival screening protocols and procedures to assess the level of risk and thus target shipments in a timely manner before their arrival or departure.” By contrast, the weaknesses of a singular approach would mean redundant investments in technology to adapt to country-specific needs and standards, as well as costs incurred through software licensing and operations.

CCLEC 39th Conference held in Miami

Twenty-six (26) delegates across regional and metropolitan Customs Administrations attended the 39th CCLEC Conference which was held at the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel and Executive Meeting Center, from the 23rd – 25th May, 2017. The theme “Digital partnerships in a connected world” was underlined by two distinguished speakers, Mr. SergioMujica Montes, Deputy Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO) and Mr. Ian C. Saunders, Assistant Commissioner, United States Customs & Border Protection (US-CBP).

Among the participants were the Caribbean Postal Union (CPU), CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), Regional Security System (RSS), Inter American Development Bank (IDB), SOGET, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the WCO.

The conference witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Caribbean Postal Union and CCLEC, the objective of the MOU being to foster greater cooperation between both entities, particularly in the area of information sharing.

A number of presentations were made on the reform and modernization of CCLEC operations, including moving the organization for one based on an MOU, to being treaty based. Reports were received on the activities undertaken by the CCLEC Secretariat and the CCLEC/WCO Joint Intelligence Office in addition to presentations related to the theme, trade facilitation and border security.

St Kitts Hosted the CCLEC Executive Committee (EXCO) Meeting

The St Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Division hosted the EXCO meeting from November 8-9, 2016.  Customs Comptrollers and representatives from fourteen nations were present at the meeting including Canada and the USA.
The meeting considered a number of initiatives including:

  • The draft treaty
  1. Organizational change
  2. Implementation of RCS2016 and SailClear
  3. Implementation of a customs valuation risk database
  4. Development and accreditation of CCLEC’s training modules
  5. MOUs with strategic partners

The CCLEC which was established in the 1970s has been operating as an informal organisation however it is actively pursuing the formalization of the organisation through a treaty.  This is an issue of monumental significance for the organization as it seeks to increase support for its programmes through donor funding and enhance information sharing.