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Thursday, May 24 – The BVI’s Customs administration was nominated and unanimously elected chair of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) for the next two years at the 29th conference held in Bermuda from May 14-18.

Comptroller of Customs Mr. Wade Smith said that the nomination was likely based on the BVI’s significant contributions in training and law enforcement support to member countries. The BVI delegation, headed by Mr. Smith, also received an award in recognition of their contribution and excellent use of the Regional Clearance System. 

Assistant Comptroller Mr. Dean Fahie and Senior Customs Officer Mr. Clinton Romney also attended the conference which was held under the theme “Enhancing Revenue and Border Controls through Capacity Building and Inter-agency Cooperation”.

Mr. Smith said that the officers benefited from workshops about Tourism, Security and Terrorism; Capacity Building and Inter-agency Cooperation; Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy. 

“As clearly stated during the conference, Customs Administrations throughout the world remain the first line of defence in preventing the movement of illegal narcotics, weapons of mass destruction, funds supporting terrorism and other illicit trade from entering our respective nations,” he said.

Speakers included Sir John Vereker, Governor of Bermuda, Honourable Paula Cox, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Mr. Michel Danet, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and Mr. Terence Leonard, Chairman of the 28th Annual CCLEC conference.

Members of customs administrations from the Caribbean region, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America also attended the conference. 

Representatives from other regional and international organisations including the World Customs Organization (WCO), Oceania Customs Organization (OCO), Caribbean Technical Assistance Committee (CARTAC), CIFAD, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), and Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) also participated in the conference

The CCLEC comprising 38 Customs Administrations was established in the early 1970s with a mandate to improve the level of cooperation and exchange of information between its members.