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.
One of the pressing needs of this organisation revolves around utilizing technology more effectively and finding appropriate solutions to improve service delivery, voluntary compliance and trade facilitation. The creation of a data culture and the reliance on data for decision making must be vigorously pursued as part of the change management process alongside much needed reforms and implementation of TF measures and obligations.
Our recent experiences with the covid pandemic highlighted many areas for strengthening institutional capacity and changing mindsets to embrace new thinking. We have no choice but to harness our collective talents and energies and emerge as a stronger and more resilient force equipped to deal with future challenges.
This is a year for renewal of purpose and promoting professional pride within the Caribbean Customs Community.
I look forward to working with all member administrations and partner organisations who share common interests and a mutual desire to work for the region.
Claude A Paul