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Jamaican Government Wants Regional Cooperation against Drug Trafficking

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon Dwight Nelson, has said that there is a need for cooperation between regional drug law enforcement units, to increase their effectiveness.

He posited the view in the context of what he said was the Caribbean’s physical and social geography being exploited by international drug traffickers.

“The challenges facing our administrations are, without question, of monumental proportions. But, we cannot lie down and die and allow drug traffickers to overrun us,” the Minister said.

He added that, although the Caribbean drug phenomenon involves many facets of drug production, consumption, abuse, trafficking and money laundering, it is the trafficking that best highlights the region’s strategic value.

“Drug traffickers have moved to exploit aspects of both the Caribbean’s physical and social geography, which renders it very conducive to drug trafficking. One of the factors which the drug traffickers rely on is the inability of many Caribbean states to provide adequate territorial policing and security,” he noted.

He said that the current situation required urgent collaborative action, and time is of the essence.

The National Security Minister was giving the welcome at the opening ceremony of the 16th Annual Drug Commanders Conference, at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and Spa Hotel, St. James.

The conference, which takes place February 8-12, is being held under the theme: Strategic Solutions for Combating Drug Trafficking.

With law enforcement officers from several Caribbean states and officers from the United States attending, Senator Nelson sought to make a link between the drug trade and organized crime which, he said, seeks to undermine the legal economy and causes social disruption, at all levels.

“Without interference, the operators of illegal drug trafficking will assume additional powers, garnered by their wealth, bolstered and buffeted by their ability to spend. With each passing day, the sovereign states in the region come under additional threat,” he stated.

Senator Nelson also outlined Jamaica’s approach to dealing with the problem of organized crime, pointing out that stringent measures are being put in place.

“It is for these reasons and more that, as minister of National Security, and as part of the government’s strategic operations against crime and violence for this year, I have already sensitized my Cabinet, and I have already had discussions with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and the Director of Legal Reform in the Ministry of Justice, pursuant to the promulgation, this year, of harsh anti-gang legislation,” he stated.

He said that in looking at the strategic need and importance for these anti-gang legislations, reference was made to work done in the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa. He said that even though some member states of the Caribbean have forged agreements to counter the illicit drug trade, more needs to be done.

Also attending the conference were the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, Acting Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington and Charge d’Affairs at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Isiah Parnell.

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