Anti-Terrorism Legislation Could also Address Drug Trafficking


The implementation of anti-terrorism legislation in countries in the western hemisphere, including Caribbean nations such as Jamaica, will not only bode well to counter any potential terrorist threats in the region, but should also extend itself to the problematic issues of drug trafficking and money laundering.
This was the assessment of Executive Secretary of the Organization of the American States (OAS), Michael Montblatt in his address at a seminar on anti-terrorism legislation held at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade recently.
Mr. Montblatt explained that the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism, which was drafted by the OAS in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, would enable governments, if they so choose, to establish financial intelligence units to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.
“The training, information exchange and technical cooperation envisaged in the Convention would help the parties (of the OAS) to deal with a variety of challenges including drug traffickers and arms smugglers, as well as terrorists,” he pointed out, adding that the move would lead to “the enhanced information exchange and mutual legal assistance that will help prevent terrorist acts, and help authorities investigate (and) prosecute terrorists and their supporters.”
Stating that acts of terrorism had far reaching implications, he said the 9/11 attacks, which leveled two skyscrapers left thousands dead, also claimed the lives of over 160 victims from Latin America and the Caribbean, including 14 Jamaicans and resulted in a major fallout in the region’s tourism industry.
He cited information from the World Bank, which claimed that the Caribbean economies were the most severely affected by the 9/11 attacks after Afghanistan and its immediate neighbours.
As a means of being proactive to stave off the effects from the threats of terrorism, Mr. Montblatt said the OAS had fashioned a counter-terrorism architecture composed of three levels.
The first level, he explained, involved the design of a broad array of international conventions and agreements including the Inter American agreement, which outlawed a broad range of terrorist activities and their financing. These agreements provide the indispensable framework within which the international community could deal with terrorist phenomena from a common base.
Meanwhile, the second and third levels, speak to the establishment of sound national laws that reiterate the tenets of the conventions, and successful counter-terrorism practices that incorporate administrative regulations and procedures based on the best international standards.

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