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The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy Science and Technology on Monday, September 30, 2013 and Tuesday, October 1,2013 trained 21 customs brokers to guard against the importation of toxic chemicals, pesticides and other harmful products, through the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) World.
The training workshop was designed to build the capacity of customs brokers to better identify, analyse risks and effectively deal with various pesticides, toxic chemicals, ozone depleting substances (ODS), refrigerants and their products which are regulated and pose serious risks to the environment and human health.
Ozone Assistant in the Sustainable Development and Environment Division, Joanna Octave-Rosemond, says as party to various conventions that deal with toxic chemical, pesticides and ozone depleting substances, Saint Lucia is obligated to adhere to certain restrictions and phase-out targets.
Octave-Rosemond said: “There are several harmful chemicals, pesticides, refrigerants and substances for which importation is banned or restricted in Saint Lucia and customs brokers are seen as stakeholders in the trade of the products, as they play a major role in detecting and preventing the illegal trade of harmful chemicals. The training workshop had several objectives including building the capacity of brokers to apply the tools of risk management towards the coordinated and effective implementation of import/export licensing systems and quota systems and the phase-out of HCFCs. The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy Science and Technology is extremely pleased to have facilitated the training which we hope will result in increased monitoring of our ports to prevent the trade of harmful chemicals, products and substances thereby protecting our environment and citizens.”
In an effort to ensure the regulations are adhered to, the Sustainable Development and Environment Division will meet with various stakeholders to properly sensitise them on the requirements and procedures for importing various toxic chemicals and pesticides.
The ozone assistant says technical officers will also be monitoring the operations at the ports to ensure compliance.
“The training was very successful and resulted in several recommendations being brought forward. As such we will present customs brokers with a list of licensed importers of refrigerants so they can ensure that ODSs and non-ODSs are brought in by only authorised individuals. Monitoring personnel from the Sustainable Development and Environment Division will also perform periodic checks on the docks and various cargo sheds. It was suggested that a particular day of the week be set aside for this in consultation with the Customs & Excise Department. The Sustainable Development and Environment will take all the recommendations on-board to better prevent the trade of illegal chemicals. ”
As a signatory to the Montreal Protocol, Saint Lucia is mandated to take steps that promote the proper management of chemicals, pesticides and other environmentally harmful products.
The training for customs brokers was held in the conference room of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology.