Visit of WCO Secretary General to St Lucia

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, visited St. Lucia from the 12th to 14th February 2020. During his stay the Secretary General made official visits to the Acting Comptroller of Customs and Excise, Mrs. Anita Montoute and her staff, the Government of St. Lucia and the Caribbean Customs Law…

Cuba Ratifies CCO Treaty

On November 1st 2019, the Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to St. Lucia, His excellency Alejandro Marin, deposited Cuba’s Instrument of Ratification of the Caribbean Customs Organisation (CCO) Treaty at the CCLEC Secretariat.  The CCO Treaty was signed by fourteen countries on May 22nd, 2019 in Havana and will enter into force three months…

BAHAMAS DEVASTATED BY HURRICANE DORIAN

The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) extends its heartfelt condolences to the Government and the people of the Bahamas for the tragic loss of lives and widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian on Sunday 1st September 2019. The devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian is still unfolding but images and news from the Bahamas tell…

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.

Miss Camille Garrick, St Vincent Officer

On behalf of the CCLEC Secretariat and Executive Committee I convey our deepest condolences to the family, friends and Customs colleagues of Miss Camille Garrick of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Customs and Excise Department, on her recent decease at such a tender age.  The loss of such a dear friend and co worker…

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.

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.

Grand Cayman Customs launches new IT System

As announced previously, today (Wednesday, 1 November 2017) the Customs Department launched Phase 1 of its project to transition from its legacy IT Platforms to its enhanced IT Platforms.

Collector of Customs Charles Clifford said, “The transition will ultimately see the phasing out of the Customs Department’s legacy IT Platforms in favor of enhanced IT Platforms which are designed to ultimately deliver effective trade facilitation and exceptional customer service while maintaining effective border control protocols.”

Deputy Collector of Customs Kevin Walton, who has responsibility for the Customs Department’s Revenue Collection Portfolio, said, “Because this is a transition, those traders who may not be ready to use the new IT Platform which is being launched in Phase 1 today will have available to them our legacy IT Platforms which will remain live and available in order to facilitate a smooth transition within a reasonable period of time before the old systems are taken offline at the end of this year”

Collector Clifford advised that customers must come in to register on the new system in order to take advantage of it advances. Registration is necessary for compliance purposes. However, it is a one time registration and once you are registered on the new system you will be able to enter your declaration online from the comfort of your home or office. You will then receive an email from the Customs Department confirming receipt and advising that your declaration will be processed within 2 hours. Once your declaration is processed, you will receive a further email advising that your goods have been released and that you should come in to pay the duties and collect your goods or alternatively that your goods have been selected for inspection and you must come in to witness the inspection.