A section of the crowd at the opening ceremony of the XXXIII Annual Conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

Regional states are upgrading the effectiveness and efficiency of their customs administrations through best practices, human resource development, modernisation, automation, harmonisation of processes as well as information and intelligence sharing.

This point was highlighted by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, as he addressed the opening ceremony of the XXXIII Annual Conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC). It was held today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael.

The Finance Minister noted: "Over the years the organisation [CCLEC] has provided member countries with invaluable access to hardware and software technology in the fight against an increasing threat to our border security, especially from those persons who are willing to use modern technology and other sophisticated means to smuggle dangerous items and other contraband across borders."

He said such training programmes included Intelligence Analysis Training, Drug Investigators Training, Advanced Narcotics Training and Anti-Money Laundering Training through funding by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

In relation to technology, he added this included the Regional Clearance System and the Regional Airports Anti-Smuggling Initiative.

Meanwhile, in terms of developing professionalism, Director General, Dominican Republic Customs and Chairman of XXXII Annual Conference, Cesar Zarillo, said that with the impact of technology and information there was the need for a system of customs which was "agile and efficient."

"The ability to compete in a global market for velocity, security, transport costs and goods, tends to be more and more important. It has to highlight the importance of control not just to protect national security for consumers, human health and environment, [but] also to a make the requirements and obligations between the protected material and intellectual property rights and the other obligations that are contained in commercial agreements that our countries adhere to," Mr. Zarillo pointed out.

Secretary General, World Customs Organization Kunio Mikuriya, pointed out that whereas borders divided countries, customs connected them. He lamented the impact of terrorism on border security noting that terrorists had tried to disrupt goods supplied from the Middle East and as a result, there was the need to protect the air cargo industry?? and to develop programmes of how best to enhance air cargo security and other transport modes.


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