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  • Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), Major Richard Reese, has expressed confidence that the 38th annual conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), being hosted in the country, will be a success.
  • Major Reese lauded the outstanding work of CCLEC and its executives for the efforts to collaboratively improve the region’s customs agencies.
  • They will also be examining the operating model of the organisation, which has been under review for the past three years.

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), Major Richard Reese, has expressed confidence that the 38th annual conference of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), being hosted in the country, will be a success.

Major Reese was addressing the opening ceremony for the five-day conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday (May 17).

The conference, which started on May 16 and will conclude on May 20, is being hosted by the JCA under the theme: ‘Leveraging Customs Information Systems to Optimise Our Role in Border Security’.

Major Reese said the theme for the conference speaks to the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) by customs agencies, as a strategy and a tool to effectively improve border protection capabilities.

“I urge us to continue to seek ways to improve our technological capabilities in order to ensure that our borders remain safe and secure,” he said.

Major Reese lauded the outstanding work of CCLEC and its executives for the efforts to collaboratively improve the region’s customs agencies.

“For us (this conference) is a time for the collaboration and sharing of ideas, a time for reflection and a time to chart new pathways which will serve to assist us in achieving our individual mandate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Major Reese said the JCA will remain strident in protecting Jamaica’s borders and will continue to forge ties and strengthen partnerships with local and overseas stakeholders, with a view to improving intelligence and risk-management capabilities.

CCLEC is a multilateral regional organisation dedicated to improving the overall professionalism of its members. It was established in the early 1970s and is an association of customs administrations within the Caribbean and Latin American regions as well as Canada, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

It comprises 38 customs administrations of which 36 are signatories to a CCLEC Memorandum of Understanding regarding mutual assistance and cooperation for the prevention and repression of customs offences in the Caribbean zone.

Members of the CCLEC will engage in discussions throughout the conference on how to foster greater partnerships and information sharing in a move to make the region a more competitive trading and logistics-centred environment to encourage regional growth and development.

They will also be examining the operating model of the organisation, which has been under review for the past three years.

The ceremony is being attended by delegates and customs officials from across the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as other countries.