Minister of Finance and Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, is urging greater regional cooperation to address common border security challenges.
Mr. Shaw said given the global economy, the international nature of trade and travel and transnational criminal organisations, sovereign states must not continue to work in isolation to defend their borders.
“This is a task that no country can tackle alone,” the Minister said, while giving the keynote address at the opening of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council’s (CCLEC) 38th annual conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, today (May 17).
The five-day conference, hosted by Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), is being held under the theme: ‘Leveraging Customs Information Systems to Optimise Our Role in Border Security’. It will conclude on May 20.
Noting that a country’s borders can pose a potential threat as well as a window of opportunity, Mr. Shaw said effective management is crucial for the economic development of a country, as well as the protection of the welfare of citizens.
He emphasized that the region must welcome new and improved technology, which the government and law enforcement agencies must utilise in their security efforts. He added that there must also be investment in infrastructure and technical equipment as well as greater acceptance of an intelligent and risk-based approach to targeting.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw hailed the role CCLEC has played in encouraging interdependence among states with respect to customs and border security, with a focus on increasing trade efficiency to improve productivity, reliability and profitability.
He said CCLEC has over the years, served to promote capacity building initiatives for customs agencies across the region as well as to develop and encourage the implementation of measures to enhance border security and the establishment of a network of intelligence and law enforcement 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.
The annual conference provides a platform for the sharing of best practices, strengthening of customs network as well as an opportunity for the Council to review the organisation’s progress and set priorities.