Twenty customs officers from Haiti and the Dominican Republic have strengthened their trade facilitation capacity following a 2-week training programme on “Techniques to fight against transnational fiscal crimes and corruption” imparted by the Scuola di Polizia Tributaria (Tax Police School) of the Guardia di Finanza in Rome, Italy, on 21 November – 2 December, 2016.

The activity was undertaken within the framework of the Haiti-Dominican Republic Bi-National Programme, Trade Component, implemented by Caribbean Export and funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). Additionally, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) joined efforts in the coordination of the training programme.

Cross-border crimes are a common threat for both Haiti and the Dominican Republic resulting in the need for this training to help combat such crimes. Joint training of this nature ensures both sides of the border are skilled at identifying possible threats thus tempering the impact of illicit financial activities such as corruption, money laundering and transnational organized crime.

During the graduation ceremony, held on 2 December, Mr. Victor H. Saint-Louis and Mr. Enrique Ramirez, General Directors of the customs organizations of Haiti the Dominican Republic, respectively, stressed the importance of increasing joint initiatives such as this, along with other high level representatives including Gen.D. Giancarlo C. Pezzuto, Commander of the Scuola di Polizia Tributaria. The event was also attended by Mr. Sparte Odera, Caribbean Export Board Member; Mr. Escipion Oliveira, Deputy Executive Director of Caribbean Export; Mr. Rocco Messina, Head of Border Management Unit of MINUSTAH; as well as diplomatic members and other school and customs officers.

Continuous training with the the Scuola di Polizia Tributaria, an OECD recognised International Academy, was discussed to promote possible legislative changes to combat tax evasion and money laundering; enhanced inter-agency and international co-operation; and greater capacity to fight illicit flows. These programmes have been identified to meet the need for further cooperation against financial crimes at the international level.