By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Prime minister, Andrew Holness, has called on the assistance of the United States (US) in identifying and prosecuting individuals who fund criminal operations in Jamaica.
“We intend to use the relationship to try and tackle a part of the problem for which we have no reach, and that is the Jamaicans who have migrated to the United States and use the cover of their residence [in the US] to influence, solicit and fund crime in Jamaica,” he said. “We have a list of them, which we intend to pass on to you, but we will welcome your help and support in identifying, tracking and prosecuting those persons and potentially extraditing those persons to Jamaica,” he added.
He was speaking during a meeting in Washington DC on December 8 involving the commissioner of police, Major General Antony Anderson and senior US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials and other stakeholders.
Holness pointed out that 90 percent of the guns in Jamaica are from the US, noting that the country is challenged to treat with this influx of weapons.
“We were assured that the United States is taking even greater steps to deal with the problem of illegal export of firearms, and we are pleased to note the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which creates a legal framework to interdict and prosecute persons illegally exporting guns from the United States,” he said.
The prime minister urged for Jamaican traffickers and guns destined for Jamaica to be given priority attention under this new Act.
In the meantime, commissioner of police, Major Anderson, noted that closer cooperation will ensure that criminals do not feel they have a safe haven in the US from which to sponsor crime in Jamaica.
A release from the office of the prime minister indicated that the high-level meeting of law enforcement and security agencies was convened to discuss the growing threat of transnational criminal gangs, organised criminal violence and the trafficking of illegal guns into Jamaica.
The meeting reviewed existing programmes and partnerships, identified gaps to be closed and explored new opportunities to advance collaboration.
In addition, there was commitment for greater and more effective information sharing.