This is the view of head of corporate regulatory affairs of Carisma Marketing Services – the agency responsible for the marketing and distribution of cigarettes produced by British American Tobacco (BAT) across the Caribbean, excluding Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica – Rhys Campbell.
At the time of comment, Campbell was speaking to reporters during a break in the second meeting of directors of customs and security authorities from Central and Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Panama City recently.
The delegates from some 16 countries included heads of customs from The Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Suriname and host-country Panama, to discuss aspects of legislation, new technologies for the detection of illegal traffic of goods not complying with health regulations and that defraud the customs rules and other issues of significant importance to the continent.
In her address to the delegates, Dr Gloria Moreno de Lopez, Director-General of the National Customs Authority of Panama, explained that the Authority co-ordinates national efforts to tighten controls to curb the sale of products sold in Panama illegally.
A key feature of the Panama meeting was the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the delegates, which aims to build and promote the exchange of information between customs in Central America, the Caribbean and Latin America.
The Panama National Customs Authority and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service have already signed an MOU to fight money laundering activities through the creation of a Trade Transparency Unit (TTU). The unit specializes in trade information exchange between the two countries to identify anomalies that may uncover criminal violations including trade related money laundering, and to protect the integrity of the trading system of each country.
(Parts of this article were written with content submitted in a Caribbeannewnews release).