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.

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…

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.

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.