The Government’s capacity to reduce the cultivation, production and trafficking of illicit drugs, is being bolstered through a $180 million allocation to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
This is contained in the 2013/14 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.
Supported through funding from the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the project aims to enhance the country’s capacity to disrupt and deter money laundering operations and other financial crimes and develop the Government’s capacity to prosecute, through the training of special prosecutors, and the establishment of a Financial Investigative and Anti-corruption Division.
It also seeks to undertake prison reform initiatives and conduct continuous ballistics and fingerprint information sharing programmes; and to advance public safety and security, and promote social justice.
Anticipated targets for this financial year are: to support maintenance, the purchase of spare and repair parts and training for secure seas interdiction vessels and equipment; provide technical equipment to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) operations centre and to improve communications within the Jamaican government as well as between the CBSI partner nation’s militaries; and to strengthen the professionalism of enforcement agents and reduce corruption within Jamaica law enforcement institutions by continuing the various training on money laundering and cyber-crimes cases.
The money will also go towards: expanding Jamaica’s Technical Assistance Field Team to bolster the maintenance and logistics capabilities of Caribbean Maritime Forces as well as assist them in indentifying and addressing the root cause of maintenance and sustainment issues; and support the development of a regional web-based network that will allow the sharing of radar and sensor data between the partners of the CBSI, in order to provide further security coordination and cooperation throughout the region.
Achievements up to March 2013 include: the training of law enforcement officials in the areas of community-based policing, combat lifesaving, computer-based surveillance, polygraph instruction, cyber investigations and information sharing.
Other achievements are: provision of equipment and training for marijuana eradication and interdiction; JDF Coast Guard patrol vessels restored to operational status and specialised tools provided for vessel maintenance; while training, equipment, guidance and operational support were provided to the Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team.
Targets initially envisaged include: the provision of specialised training for investigators, prosecutors and judges to investigate and prosecute money laundering and financial crimes; to conduct interdiction and eradication operations, dismantle smuggling networks, and disrupt the ‘guns for ganja’ trade between Jamaica and Haiti; and the provision of capacity building workshops for participating stakeholders.
The project, which commenced in April 2011, is being implemented by the Ministry of National Security and is scheduled to run until March 2014.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter