Customs Collector at Turks and Caicos Conference
Published 6th December 2003, 2:30pm
Cayman Islands Collector of Customs Mr. Carlon Powery attended the 26th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), held recently in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Set against the backdrop of the growing threat of terrorism and organized crime, this yearís theme was entitled "Protecting Our Borders, Securing Our Future."
The CCLEC, established in the 1970s to improve the level of cooperation and information exchanged among members, is made up of representatives from 37 customs administrations.
Mr. Powery said the focus of this yearís conference was on the regionís contribution to the security of international trade. Workshops on revenue authorities, enhancement of border security, and the exchange of information between customs agencies and law enforcement agencies were held for attendees in an attempt to continue to build inter-jurisdictional relationships aimed at securing the regionís trade procedures.
"Customs administrations throughout the world remain the first line of defense in preventing the movement of illegal narcotics, weapons of mass destruction, funds supporting terrorism and other illicit activities from entering our respective nations," Mr. Powery said. "To this end, we should take every opportunity to review the various initiatives currently being advanced in the region and internationally, in order to share with the CCLEC the numerous successes which have resulted from these endeavours."
Representatives from the Caribbean region and throughout the world, including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and Spain, gathered in Provodenciales to participate in the annual event. Also present at the conference were representatives from CARICOM, CFATF, Interpol and UNCTAD, along with the Acting Governor of the Turks and Caicos, Her Excellency Mrs. Cynthia Astwood, and Collector of Customs Mr. Clinton Wilson.
Turks and Caicos Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Floyd Basil Hall opened the ceremony by congratulating the CCLEC members for responding to the regionís needs for customs reform, modernization and capacity building. He said regional customs administrations should continue to be proactive in dealing with inevitable changes, especially regarding drug trafficking and global terrorism.
A number of key initiatives were discussed, including enhanced customs management and training strategies, human resources strategies, re-enforcement of integrity measures, the adoption of a code of conduct, enhanced inter-agency cooperation, and the role of information technology.
The conference also was the setting for recognizing those who exemplify the goals of the CCLEC. Mr. Powery, who serves as the chairman of the CCLEC Executive Council, told participants of the creation of an annual Award of Excellence established to highlight outstanding accomplishments and innovations that positively impact customs administrations and its stakeholders. Also, the Sean Simonette Integrity Award was presented to Mr. Terrence Leonard, acting deputy controller of customs for St. Lucia. The Simonette Award is given to personnel who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the values of their customs service through exceptional acts of courage, honour and dedication.
All in all, Mr. Powery said the conference was a success and commented that the annual event is not only a time to review events of the past year, but also is a time to set into action plans designed to advance the goals of the Caribbean region.