JIS News

National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips has said that during the past year a significant dent had been made in the cocaine trade by virtue of the cooperation with international authorities, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We have made significant arrests of people that we think are central to the trade, we have also been able to significantly reduce the flow, we are seeing significant reduction in the flow of cocaine through our waters, this has been the result of significant cooperation between ourselves and the United Kingdom authorities,” he disclosed, adding that the Jamaican government was determined to tackle the issue of criminal gangs surrounding the drug trade.
Dr. Phillips was speaking at a community meeting in London on Tuesday, (January 25). He noted too that one of the consequences of the pressure on the drug trade and gangs had been an upsurge in violent inter-gang related crimes and homicides after two years of decline.
“One of the eventualities that has occurred as a consequence of our pressure on the cocaine trade is that it has stimulated a wave of internecine conflict among the criminal gangs and this has largely contributed to upsurge of violent crime and homicides,” he said. The Security Minister pointed out that in the years 2003 and 2004 there had been a cumulative 15 per cent decline in homicides.
“Part of our response to that has been Operation King Fish which has as one of its explicit purposes, the dismantling of the major organized crime groups that have grown up around the cocaine trade and involves a number of different facilities. We intend to maintain the reduction in the flow of cocaine and other drugs, we intend to deny them access to the finances, which they get from the drug trade and we intend to put the major figures behind bars. The greatest return in terms of crime fighting comes when you put the criminal behind bars,” he said.
Dr. Phillips also told the gathering that the Drug Offences (Forfeiture of Proceeds) Act, had further dampened the profitability of the drug trade, taking the profits out of “criminal enterprise”.
He explained that the Bill was “very much patterned, but with some changes to deal with our own legislative institutional and constitutional requirements, on the British Proceeds of Crime Bill and its purpose is really to ensure that to the fullest extend possible, we take the profits out of criminal enterprise. It is intended to ensure that anyone who we can demonstrate in a court of law has a criminal lifestyle and has income and assets that cannot be explained by virtue of legitimate activity, that those asset will fall within the ambit of forfeiture”.

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