Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 3, 2020 (SKNIS):
Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron, supported the bill entitled the Advance Cargo Information Bill, 2020, during the sitting of the National Assembly on September 3, 2020. The mover of the bill was Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris.
In his presentation, the Attorney General said, “that the bill seeks to facilitate the provision of advanced information relating to cargo onboard aircrafts of vessels entering and leaving the jurisdiction of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“Mr. Speaker, the bill is based on a CARICOM regional initiative and the model law is intended to be implemented within a harmonized legal framework throughout the region. “In that connection, the bill would seek to provide for the sharing of information with other CARICOM member states with a view of enhancing border security control efforts in relation to the movement of cargo,” he said..
“Mr. Speaker, the bill is in fact a result of a number of years of collaborative work between the regional Customs departments and the joint regional communications Center (JRCC),” said the Attorney General.
He said that the JRCC is an agency responsible for both advanced passenger information and advanced cargo information in the region. “It is a clearing house of intelligence and information to help us in our security systems. Mr. Speaker, the regional cooperation on this matter is essential since the proper administration for advanced cargo information may be costly for customs and other stakeholders.”
“Mr. Speaker, at the national level, the bill would provide for better analysis for cargo entering and leaving the Federation…It is anticipated that the bill will facilitate the more efficacious utilisation of electronic advanced cargo information and relevant data sets of information to identify high risk cargo prior to arrival,” he said.
He also said that the Customs department will also be afforded additional time to scrutinize consignments prior to their arrival in the territory and to take appropriate steps for the purposes of safety and security.
“Mr. Speaker, the bill also seeks to ensure that the customs department is better able to separate cargo shipments in different categories and more efficiently, match resources to the specific small number of shipments that require the maximum intervention of the customs department,” said Attorney General Byron.
“In time Mr. Speaker, the enactment of this law would lead to the building of capacity to make more informed decisions on interdiction of goods at the borders and this would likely result in a more secure supply chain as well as enhanced trade facilitation and economic growth,” he said.