|CCLEC 34th Annual Conference|
The 34th Annual Conference was held in St Lucia from June 19-22, 2012 under the theme ‘Towards Better Cooperation’. Twenty four member countries were in attendance as well as a number of strategic partners.
Mr Herman St Helen, St Lucia Comptroller of Customs welcomed delegates to the conference followed by addresses by Mr Frank Holder, the Comptroller of Customs for Barbados and Chair of the XXXIII Conference, Mr Michel Prom, French Ambassador for OECS.
Dr Alison Plummer, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, delivered the Keynote Address on behalf of the Prime Minister, Dr Kenny D Anthony. In her address Dr Plummer acknowledged the important role of Customs in revenue collection, trade and national security but she also noted that the Customs profession was a complex field that requires a multidisciplinary approach especially when dealing with the complexities and demands of the various trading arrangements in the region.
She recognized the need for cooperation and said that CCLEC was one of the broadest pan-Caribbean organisations and naturally formed the basis for cooperation and sharing of experiences and best practices. She commended the efforts and mission of the CCLEC in strengthening cooperation and collaboration for the betterment of the member states.
Two presentations in support of the workshops were made by CARICOM and CBP on the Implementation of Chapter 4 of the EPA and Risk Management respectively. Representatives from international organisations such as WCO, IDB and CARICOM/UNSCR 1540 also had the opportunity to share their experiences on matters of mutual interest.
The revised five year strategic Plan was approved by Council and, in keeping with member’s needs, the Plan will focus on capacity building, enforcement and trade. As a priority, Council mandated the Secretariat to work closely with OECS, marinas and other stakeholders to further enhance the clearance system for yachts in the region and to engage UWI Open Campus in the development of the BSc for Customs.
A graduation ceremony was held at the end of conference to mark a historical milestone for the accredited Customs Management Program. The Program was developed by the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies, University of Canberra, in conjunction with the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) with the objective to provide a learning path for Customs staff seeking to further develop their professional skills. It is designed to meet the training and education requirements of CCLEC members and is fully compliant with the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) Partnership in Customs Academic Research and Development (PICARD) competency requirements. Eighteen students from seven countries in the region graduated from the program – see list.
Presentations of awards were made for outstanding performance in enforcement and extraordinary commitment to integrity in the service. This year Mr Harold Tobas of the Customs Preventive Branch of the Trinidad and Tobago Customs Department received the Award of Excellence and Mr Ramon Valerio from the Dominican Republic Customs received the Integrity Award.