The Ministry of National Security will be seeking the support of the Ministry of Tourism, in launching a public education campaign to sensitise Jamaicans about the sophistry of lottery scamming.
The campaign will be undertaken nationally, with special focus on the resort town of Montego Bay, from which the scammers operate.
“We have to be aware that these criminals have a sophisticated propaganda machinery and they like to spread misinformation such as (that) this is a victimless crime, and that it is reparations for slavery, and a sort of robin hood type activity – this we know is nonsense, therefore, we are going to have to maintain the pressure on them,” said National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting.
He was speaking Monday May 7th at the handing over of 16 new sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) at the Police Commissioner’s Old Hope Road headquarters.
The government has intensified its campaign against the lotto scam in recent months, with a number of persons arrested and property seized. The police believe that the illicit activity is at the root of a lot of the crimes committed in the second city.
The National Security Minister said no industry is more immediately exposed to the consequences and stigma associated with a high crime rate, than tourism, although crimes against tourists in Jamaica are very low, compared with regional and Central American counterparts.
He said that while the victims of the lottery scam are not tourists, since victims are in the home states of visitors and potential visitors, the negative consequences will ultimately affect the sector, and investment.
“This is why it is so important that the JCF is successful in their intense campaign against the lotto scammers. We have seen some good results over the past few months and we are going to have to keep it up,” he stated.
The Suzuki vehicles, which were purchased at a total cost of $32 million, will be deployed to Montego Bay, St. James (six); Ocho Rios, St. Ann (three); Negril, Westmoreland (two); Port Antonio, Portland (one); Falmouth, Trelawny (two); Runaway Bay St. Ann (one); and Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth (one).
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter