Jamaica Working with U.S. Government to Stem Crime

“Lets Chat with Ambassador Marks

“Lets Chat with Ambassador Marks” – Ambassador Audrey Marks addresses her first monthly on-line meeting with the diaspora. (Photo Credit Derrick Scott)

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Audrey Marks kicked off her town hall style, virtual meeting with the diaspora.  The meeting was launched on Thursday March 4th 2021. Marks assured Jamaicans that the government is working aggressively to implement all aspects of the Plan Secure Jamaica initiative. An initiative aimed at dealing with the crime problem facing the country.

Crime in Jamaica

She told the hundreds of Jamaicans on the virtual call to participate in the launch of the monthly online program. The virtual program entitled, ‘Let’s Connect with Ambassador Marks’.  The program discussed measures dealing with crime on the island. Crime remains one of highest priority on the agenda of the Jamaican Government.

Ambassador Marks observed that crime was a long-standing and complex issue. As a result, the government was working aggressively to implement immediate as well as long-term measures to deal with the problem. Especially, the island’s drugs and guns problems.  The problems are directly related to Jamaica’s strategic location between the USA and Central America. These countries are the major sources of demand and supply of these contrabands. As such, these are identified areas of mutual cooperation. Resulting in the Jamaican Government continuing actions and dialogue with the United States Government. Specifically,  aimed at strengthening Jamaica’s ability to manage this crime monster.

Plan Secure Jamaica Initiative

“What I can say from our instructions at the Embassy, is that we have put a particular focus with working with the United States Government on Jamaica’s initiative called” Plan Secure Jamaica”. We were making significant strides in its implementation up to March last year. But with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, on both sides we had to reprioritize to address the same. But I am confident that by April 2021 we will get back on track with this continuing engagement. Plus, we will be able to speak in more detail about the bi-lateral discussions. In addition to the activities between both governments”, Ambassador Marks said.

COVID-19 In Jamaica

Marks answered questions on the status of COVID-19 in Jamaica.  She shared that the government was ramping up disaster management measures to address the recent spike in positive cases.

Among the measures implemented, special emphasis was made regarding travelers to Jamaica, both Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans.  Travelers are to be tested for the virus at least 72 hours prior to departure. The next step would be to upload their test result to access their travel authorization.

Breach of JamCovid19 Website

Ambassador Marks assured the audience that the alleged recent breach of the JamCovid19 website was being addressed. She stated, the Ministry of National Security had taken steps to strengthen the data and the site are in place. However, it is an ongoing activity.

Business Travel &  Quarantine  Requirements

It was also noted that business travelers to Jamaica will continue having both a departure and arrival test. But, they will now be required to pay for their COVID tests immediately after arrival.

She appealed to those persons going home to conform with the quarantine requirements. As well as testing protocols which will help in curtailing the spread of the virus.

Testing Capabilities

Ambassador Marks noted that the Government in collaboration with private labs, clinics and hotels, had rapidly expanded Jamaica’s testing capacity. Especially in light of the new United States travel requirements. As a result,  there were no reported cases of persons being delayed in Jamaica due to the departure testing requirement.

Deportations

On the matter of deportations, she mentioned that despite the legal challenges with the new Biden Administration’s 100 days Stay – deportation policy, there continues to be good communication with the U.S Government in terms of management of the deportation process. She noted that a number of persons going back to Jamaica under the ‘Involuntary Returning Migrant Program’ are actually the ones requesting that they be sent home after spending a long time incarcerated in the United States.

The Ambassador informed that the Embassy continues to work on the behalf of those persons who have a valid challenge to being deported, to get a fair hearing.

In Conclusion

The next ‘Let’s Connect’ with the Ambassador event is scheduled for the 8th of April.  Ambassador Marks committed that she will request the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang, to be a special guest.  The goal will be to discuss the level of concern regarding security matters.

 

 

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