BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (SKNIS) – After weeks of training, 44 officers of St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department – 28 from St. Kitts and 16 from Nevis – completed the 13th Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) Junior Officers Basic Training Course and are now better equipped to protect the nation’s borders from the illicit movement of goods and people.
During their six-week training, the officers were educated in Customs Overview; Legislation; Prohibition and Restriction; Effective Communication; Situation Diffusion; Warehousing; Release and Accounting; Invoice; Customs Classification; Drug Identification; Customs Evaluation; Tariff Preferences and Rules of Origin; Risk Cargo Selection; Vessel and Aircraft Search; Passenger and Baggage Search; Selection and Assessment of Passengers; Arrest, Detention and Seizures, Note Taking and Statement Writing, and Firearm Familiarization.
The officers were presented with their certificates of completion during a graduation ceremony held today, Thursday, May 18, 2023, at the Customs and Excise Department Headquarters. The ceremony was attended by several dignitaries including Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew; Head of the Civil Service, Ms. Thelma Richards; Financial Secretary, Mrs. Hilary Hazel; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance on Nevis, Mr. Colin Dore and the Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Kennedy De Silva.
Delivering remarks at the ceremony, Mr. De Silva stated that capacity building is one of the four pillars under which modern-day Customs agencies operate.
“Capacity building helps the Customs Department adapt to the changing environment, the new technologies and the emerging trends,” said Mr. De Silva. “I’m imploring you to take every opportunity that is given, I’m imploring you to run with it, and as the training programme unfolds, take time to make sure that you are right there at the forefront so that when we look back in the next six or seven years we can say we did it.”
Prime Minister Dr. Drew offered words of congratulations to the junior officers on their successful completion of the course and impressed upon them the significance of their roles as Customs Officers.
Dr. Drew said, “I extend heartfelt congratulations to all of you. You have stayed the course and you have enhanced your skills as a result, and I am pleased at your commitment to serve your country as Customs and Excise officers. During the opening ceremony for this training, I mentioned that your role is to effectively serve as the gatekeepers of our nation. This is a critically important role. The entire country depends on you to secure our borders. This should not be taken lightly.”
The Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC) is a multilateral regional organization dedicated to improving the overall professionalism of its members. It comprises 38 Customs Administrations of which 36 are signatories to the CCLEC Memorandum of Understanding.
The membership comprises Customs administration from the Caribbean and Latin America as well as Canada, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.