Montserrat was represented in Barbados at the launch of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Caribbean Small Arms and Light Weapons and Narcotics Enforcement project, which will be known as Project Hammer.
Director General of the Montserrat Customs and Revenue Service (MCRS), Peter White represented the Government of Montserrat at the launch of the project which is part of efforts to address issues pertaining to border security in the region.
Project Hammer is a two-year project funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US Department of State to deliver capacity building activities in the 14 CARICOM member states and the wider Caribbean region focused on Customs capability.
The WCO noted that the project marks the first detailed cooperation between WCO and CARICOM IMPACS and is part of a greater commitment by both parties to address wider border security threats in the Caribbean. The focus of this project will be on Customs and will seek to ensure that Customs are able to support broader national and regional counter-narcotics and counter-weapon trafficking activities.
Mr. White explained that “Montserrat is not a member of the WCO but we have an interest in their work. The only Caribbean Overseas Territory (OT) that has membership of the WCO is Bermuda.”
While in Barbados, Mr. White had a bilateral meeting with the Secretary General of WCO Dr. Kunio Mikuriya on Wednesday February 9. During that meeting they committed to engage in dialogue with the UK to see how Montserrat and the other remaining OTs can become members of the WCO.
MCRS Director General’s attendance was made possible by the Government of Montserrat, CARICOM IMPACS and the Regional Security System Air Unit.
Project Hammer will deliver the following capacity building areas to the beneficiary administrations:
Capability assessments of the Customs enforcement and security procedures and facilities.
A series on virtual regional webinars to address skills, procedures and judicial action relating to effective detection and prosecution of narcotics and weapons trafficking.
Practical national training focused on detection staff at fast parcel and postal hubs.
Train-the-trainer programme for Customs Administration in SALW and Narcotics detection.
In-country follow up mentoring programme for detection skills A number of Caribbean heads of Customs and Customs agencies were in physical attendance at the event.