Custom and Excise Division participates in WCO Disaster Management initiative

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Director Research, Development and Training in the Customs and Excise Division George Browne (left) has been leading the charge to identify available training opportunities for officers at the Antigua and Barbuda Customs and Excise Division. (Photo courtesy EpochCommunications)

The Antigua and Barbuda Customs and Excise Division is continuing to build capacity to handle the various challenges brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic.

That’s the main reason for its participation in a workshop organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

The four-day online session, which ended yesterday, was geared at strengthening the resources and response mechanisms within Customs organisations throughout the region to handle not only Covid 19 challenges, but any other infectious diseases or disruptive events.

The workshop drew sharp focus on the matter of Disaster Management and Supply Chain Continuity and brought together participants from across the Americas and the Caribbean.

The Antigua and Barbuda Customs and Excise Division was represented by Director Research, Development and Training in the Customs and Excise Division George Browne, Principal Inspectors of Customs David Martin and Randy Baltimore and Junior Customs Officer Laurel Jonas.

As a result of their participation, Antigua and Barbuda was able to contribute to a major component of the WCO imperative during this period of crisis. Their involvement will help the WCO further develop its Guidelines for Customs administrations on disaster management and supply chain continuity.

The Customs Division has emerged as a leader in customs operations throughout the region with Antigua and Barbuda being first in the region to reopen its borders. Its efforts have contributed in large part to the maintenance of livelihoods and the continued operation of the overall economy.

“The experience gained from this crisis has been invaluable and we are happy that we can share what we would have learnt with our colleagues across the hemisphere and the WCO,” explained Baltimore, who as PRO of the Customs Division, has played a significant role in maintaining communication with stakeholders during the pandemic.

Coming out of the workshop, the WCO will also be expected to lead the advocacy for a more integrated involvement of customs divisions in the disaster management systems of member countries.

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