Friday, September 13, 2013

Training Experience I Shared during the Closing Ceremony

Honorable Director, respected expert mission from RILO AP, respected commissioners, seniors and my dear colleagues. Today I, on behalf of my trainee friends and on my own behalf, stand here to briefly share our experiences about capacity building program mentioned under.

Office of the RILO AP and DRC has initiated a capacity building program for Bhutanese Customs Officials. Three day workshop on “Intelligence Analysis & Risk Management using the CEN Database” was conducted by Dr. Gryphon Sou, Mr. Wang Liang and Ms. Sung Im Lee from RILO AP. 

Capacity building program, such as this is always a welcome event. It’s time for local officials like us to meet experts from abroad. It’s time for us to interact with them and broaden our knowledge. 

Once upon a time, all of us here thought that, we have only tadpoles in our pound. But with recent ketamine smuggling case, there are already signs indicating that we have now bigger fish in the pound. And of course there are many things we need to catch those fishes but capacity building, I believe are key component. 

All in all, it’s time for us to gather required skills and rededicate ourselves in service of our humanity

There are other benefits we reap from such trainings. During such times, we also get to meet our colleagues, both from the head office and from different regions. Such personal meetings among our colleagues help us deepen our bond. It improves the relationship between the head office and the regions and thus helps us all in serving with greater efficiency

Day 1 (11th September 2013)
I would like to inform our chief guest that the lion’s share of capacity building actually took place on the first and the second day. We covered in two days what could otherwise have taken more than a week. So I would like to seek your kind permission to ponder more on first and the second day.

The opening ceremony was graced by the officials of RILO AP along with the commissioners from head office and Thimphu regional office. The commissioner of the Customs and Excise in his opening remark extended his heartiest and warm welcome to the delegates. He said capacity building for Bhutanese Customs administration is a crucial aspect and he thanked delegates from RILO AP for not leaving Bhutan Customs administration behind in any sense. 

With this, he also expressed his wish to see more such expert missions from RILO AP in coming years. Their assistance will go a long way in addressing our deficiencies in field of enforcement, risk management and combating crimes. 

Dr. Gryphon Sou, began the formal training session with a video programme. Through that short video clip, the local officials had the opportunity of learning about the significance and the deeper meaning of the logos and symbols of WCO and RILO AP. 

It showed us as to how co-operation and sharing matters everywhere. A clip appeared sublime. It’s an art work with extraordinary talent and imagination. It showed us about how WCO is striving to bring smiles on the faces everywhere and how RILP AP is striving to act as the real ‘bridge across the borders’.

Dr. Sou said that the main objective of the present mission is to enhance the core competencies of Bhutanese Customs officials. This he said would be achieved by way of capacity building in risk management, CEN enforcement and active Participation. At the end of our program, we are happy to learn that Dr. Sou meant what he said. 

In his orientation program about the RILO AP, he highlighted on the professionalism in RILO AP office (like Global Projects, RILO framework, RILO deliverables and way forward for RILO AP). From his presentation, we came to know that our administration have lot to learn from and be inspired.

In RILO AP deliverables, he discussed in detail about the Intelligence product, Project management, CEN management, Technical assistance and Liaisoning role RILO AP plays.

In between, Dr. Sou also sensitized the officials on the importance of remaining conscious and methodological in discharge of our duty on day to day basis.

In his class on intelligence analysis, he enlightened us on the importance of team work in making quality decisions at critical times. He also educated the officials on the differences between information, intelligence and analysis process. 

He further stressed on the attributes of quality information like reliability and validity, which after being properly evaluated, integrated and interpreted becomes the intelligence. 

With this he also cautioned the officials on the dangers of relying on mere superficial information. (Don’t just believe in what you merely see and hear). 

Dr. Sou also discussed in detail about the important aspects of intelligence like principles of intelligence, intelligence analysis report checklist, sources of intelligence, intelligence level, and dissemination of intelligence. He also explained about the difficulties faced and overcome by RILO in gathering intelligence. 

After Dr. Sou, Mr. Wang Liang took the floor in educating the officials about the basics, history, framework, features and workings of CEN, (which is a global database of customs seizures and offences) CENcomm, (which is a communication tool used mostly for operational purposes) NCEN (which is a national database with customs seizure and offences) and ICOMM (which is a data exchange and communication platform)

Like Dr. Sou, Mr. Wang also gave a very inspiring presentation on project sky-hole-patching (Project that is designed to combat ODS) and Project REN (which is a regional enforcement network for chemicals and waste). It was all the more inspiring to see the amount of seizures made by various member administrations in the region.

Before we called off a day, Mr. Wang has been kind enough to reorient officials on the theoretical aspects of CEN system.

Day 2 (12th September 2013)
Despite dismal internet speed, Ms. Lee, Dr. Sou and Mr. Wang were able to introduce the trainee officials to the net based CEN system. In the morning hours, all the trainee officials were given a dummy CEN user name and passwords. This was for the following purposes:

· To formally and practically introduce the participants to CEN system 
· To teach and enable officials to create a new seizure case in CEN database 
· To train officials to download the data from the CEN database using the MS Access 
· To provide officials, the basic statistical techniques in using MS excel in data analysis in interpretation 

Ms. Sung Im Lee and her friends were patience enough to move with the speed of officials. Moving one step at a time, they did their best to see that all the officials were not only able to create new cases, but were also able to download the data and do analysis on their own.

To further and deepen trainee official’s understanding of CEN, different case studies were distributed to individual officials and were made to do the analysis.

We closed our day with a concise yet very interesting and useful presentation on Risk management and commercial fraud. Considering few prevailing situation in our country, this sensitization workshop, I believe have happened at a right time.

Day 3 (13th September 2013)
On the final and the third day, Ms. Lee continued her class on techniques of using MS excels in data analysis and interpretation. Ms Lee has done her best and she deserves our sincere appreciation. 

Bhutan is a country known for pristine surrounding and rare flora & fauna. Therefore combating wildlife crime and environmental crime are considered top priority. In line with this, Dr. Sou and Mr. Wang also took time to educate us about various techniques to deal with it.

Lastly, I would like to close my training report on following notes:

· Most of the officials feel that the training was relevant, deeply insightful and should continue in future as well. Many feel that 3 day was little short for an important raining like this.

· On behalf of all my trainee mates here and on my own behalf, I would like to thank our expert mission team from the bottom of our hearts for not only training us but also for showing lot of patience in the process. We all wish you many luck, much happiness, and many successes in your future endeavors.

· I would like to thank our head office in general and Mr. Tenzin Norbu, the Commissioner of Customs and Excise and Mr. Rinchen Tshering in particular for all the initiatives they have put in to make this training a success.

· Lastly, we the people in the regions will look forward to useful trainings such as this in future. Please do keep inviting us. With this we also pledge to use all the skills we acquired.

Tashi Delek

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