Prime Minister Davis Notes the Critical Role Customs Administrations Play in Safeguarding Nations

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Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis was the keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council 46th Annual Conference held at the British Colonial on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.   (BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) has significantly strengthened the ability to enforce customs laws, combat illicit activities, and facilitate legitimate trade through collaboration and knowledge sharing of the nations it serves.

“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,” the Prime Minister said during the Opening Ceremony of the CCLEC 46th Annual Conference held at the British Colonial hotel on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

He said, “The conference serves as a reminder of the critical role that customs administrations play in safeguarding nations’ borders, enhancing revenue collection, and ensuring the smooth facilitation of trade.”

The Prime Minister added, “It will also highlight the importance of protecting our economies from the threats posed by smuggling, fraud, and other illicit activities.”

Since its establishment in 1989, CCLEC has played a pivotal role in uniting customs administrations across the region.

He explained that in today’s world, where technological advancement and globalization continue to reshape the dynamics of trade and security, it is imperative that countries remain agile and innovative, to keep up with modern trends.

The Prime Minister noted that over the next few days, the conference will serve as a vital platform for discussing and exploring cutting-edge strategies and technologies that can enhance 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.”

He commended the CCLEC for its unrelenting dedication to training and capacity building.

“The continuous development of our customs officers is essential to maintaining a robust and effective enforcement apparatus.

“Through comprehensive training programs and interactive sessions, we are equipping our officers with the skills and knowledge they need to remain on the cutting edge today and tomorrow.”

He said the importance of partnerships and international collaboration cannot be overstated.

“We are honoured to have representatives from the World Customs Organization (WCO), INTERPOL, CARICOM IMPACS, and other key stakeholders joining us at this conference.

“Your presence underscores the significance of global cooperation in addressing the multifaceted challenges we face. By working together, sharing intelligence, and aligning our efforts with global standards, we can build a more secure and prosperous Caribbean.”

The Prime Minister said, “As we deliberate on these critical issues, let us also remember the importance of public awareness and community engagement. An informed and vigilant public is a crucial ally in our efforts to maintain secure and efficient borders.”

He said, “Through outreach initiatives, public education campaigns, and collaboration with community groups, we can foster a culture of compliance and vigilance that supports our mission.”

In attendance at the opening were: Comptroller of Customs, Ralph Munroe; Permanent Secretary, CCLEC Claude Paul and Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Wayde Watson.