Take the Profit Out of Crime – Ambassador Clarke

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Fayval Williams (right), shares a light moment with Deputy Chair of the Economic Growth Council (EGC), Ambassador Nigel Clarke; and Chair, University Research Days Steering Committee, Professor Denise Eldemire-Shearer, at a public lecture held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus on February 1.

Story Highlights

  • Ambassador Nigel Clarke noted that most crimes are committed by organised criminal networks that are sustained by profit.
  • Ambassador Clarke was addressing a public lecture on the topic: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Growth Agenda’ held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus on Wednesday (February 1).
  • Other areas of recommendation from the EGC to address crime include: the establishment of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as a separate entity (from the Jamaica Constabulary Force); further improvement of the justice sector; measures to improve border security; the effective use of technology; and (creating) safe communities.

Deputy Chair of the Economic Growth Council (EGC), Ambassador Nigel Clarke, says taking the profit out of crime is one of the most effective ways to address criminal activity in Jamaica.

He noted that most crimes are committed by organised criminal networks that are sustained by profit.

“The only way to dismantle criminal networks and therefore to dent the incidence of crime in Jamaica is to remove the profit from crime,” he argued.

Ambassador Clarke was addressing a public lecture on the topic: ‘Jamaica’s Economic Growth Agenda’ held at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus on Wednesday (February 1).

He noted that crime retards economic expansion, compromises business development and increases the cost of economic activity.

“The loss of lives, the injuries, the healthcare costs resulting from crime impose an economic and social burden that is also a drag on the economic vibrancy,” he pointed out.

He noted that recommendations have been made to the Government by the EGC, to extend the Proceeds of Crime legislation to include all lawyers, accountants, bankers and real estate brokers, with appropriate provisions to protect attorney-client privileges.

The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) was passed by Parliament in 2007 to replace the Money Laundering Act and provides for the investigation, identification and recovery of the proceeds of crime and connected matters.

Ambassador Clarke also mentioned the need for the Government to review and update the Constabulary Force Act, which came into being in 1867. The Act was last substantially amended in 1935.

“The force must be modernised based on a clear understanding of how a modern police force ought to serve its citizens and deploy assets and respond to threats.  Failure to do so prevents us from achieving the aim of providing to citizens of Jamaica a service of citizen security,” he contended.

Other areas of recommendation from the EGC to address crime include: the establishment of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) as a separate entity (from the Jamaica Constabulary Force); further improvement of the justice sector; measures to improve border security; the effective use of technology; and (creating) safe communities.

Meanwhile, the Deputy EGC Chair said that economic growth and expansion of the productive base of the economy are vital in ensuring sustained prosperity for Jamaicans.

“It is through growth in the economy that employment is best assured and it is through growth in the economy that prospects for increased Government revenues are made real, and an increased capacity for public service delivery made possible,” he said.

He noted that economic expansion is not only desirable from the point of view of increasing standards of living,  but to enable the country to meet its debt obligations.

He noted that the economy grew by 2.3 per cent for the July to September quarter, while the unemployment rate as at July 2016 was 12.9 per cent, the lowest quarterly rate recorded in five years.

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