JIS News

Cooperation between Jamaica and the United States on security issues highlighted discussions as Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks, paid a courtesy call on U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, on Thursday (October 28).
The U.S. Attorney General extended a warm welcome to the Jamaican Ambassador, and reiterated the support for the country he had shared in May, following the loss of lives during the security forces operation in West Kingston.
Ambassador Marks and the Attorney General agreed that a partnership was vital to the success of Jamaica’s efforts to combat organized criminal activities.
During her meeting with the U.S. Attorney General at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., the Jamaican Ambassador cited the downtown Kingston revitalization efforts, as a critical component of efforts to fight crime. She said that it could provide the necessary socio-economic intervention and infrastructural development to generate economic opportunities for inner-city residents.
Attorney General Holder agreed with the necessity for socio-economic intervention to counteract crime and, most importantly, ensure long term sustainability of the current efforts.
He noted that there were many models in the USA, where inner-city communities were converted from being dens of criminal activity to thriving residential and commercial centres, for which the Department of Justice could provide resources.
Ambassador Marks welcomed the offer of support and noted that the success of the effort could serve as a model for the rest of the Caribbean region.
Also discussed was the need for deeper cooperation with the US to improve Jamaica’s intelligence gathering mechanisms, as well as to strengthen resources to promote security.
The U.S. Attorney General welcomed the initiatives the Ambassador outlined, and emphasized that these were particularly important, given the links between U.S. regions with large Caribbean communities, including Jamaicans, and criminal networks back in the Caribbean region.
Mr. Holder said the U.S. Government sees Jamaica as a lynchpin for the Caribbean, and thus it would be important to support efforts for a strong and clear signal to criminal networks in the region.
Ambassador Marks also used the occasion to invite the Attorney General to pay an official visit to Jamaica. Mr. Holder responded that he looked forward to a visit, and reaffirmed the Obama administration’s commitment to working with Jamaica, and Caribbean countries, to increase their ability to effectively fight organized crime, including drug trafficking.
The Ambassador was accompanied on the courtesy visit by Minister-Counsellor responsible for trade, at the Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, D.C., Franz Hall.