Government has set about to educate the average Jamaican of the cruel impact of the lottery scam, through a public awareness programme.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, says the public awareness exercise is aimed at changing the mindset of many who see the lottery scam as a victimless crime.
One of the segments of the programme is dubbed, ‘Silence Brings Violence’, which is being rolled out in schools islandwide.
He noted that that in some ways, the scam can be “as vicious as if you held up the person at gun point or knife point, in terms of the emotional and financial trauma it inflicts on the victim.”
[RELATED: Jamaica Way Ahead of Us in Fight Against Lotto Scam – US Official]
The Minister said that the current hearing by the United States Senate Special Committee on Ageing, into the Jamaican lottery scam, has created an opportunity to focus on the issue and share ideas for best practice.
“Let us use this as an opportunity to bring the urgency of the situation to every single Jamaican in particular, to understand how corrosive this activity is and that everyone has to find a way to contribute to stamping it out,” Mr. Bunting said.
The Minister was addressing a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), on Thursday, March 14, where he provided an update on his recent trip to the US, where he met with members of Congress to submit Jamaica’s sworn testimony to the Committee, detailing the country’s efforts to fight lottery scammers.
Mr. Bunting declared that Government will be putting all the resources at its disposal to attack the lottery scammers and he urged various leaders to use their influence to get the scammers to stop their illicit activity.
“Whether you are a political representative, a pastor, a civic leader, you may know persons who are involved, please use your influence and talk to them as citizens. Talk to your neighbours. But at the end of the day, the Ministry of National Security and our law enforcement agencies are resolved that we are not going to allow this activity to continue, and that we will be putting all the resources at our disposal to attack the issue,” Mr. Bunting said.
The Minister, along with Chairman of the Anti-Lottery Scam Inter-Ministerial Committee, Hon. Julian Robinson, made several appearances in the US and provided updates to media and key constituents on the country’s efforts in dealing with the criminal activity.
“We went on a mission to protect Jamaica’s brand and minimise the impact on our reputation. This administration is fully focused on that, and I invite the Opposition and all well thinking Jamaicans who share the embarrassment and distress we feel for our country, to get on board the mission of ridding Jamaica of this scourge,” Mr. Bunting said.
He pointed out that the Government has been working with US officials to fight the problem and has conducted several major operations over the past year.
The Minister further informed that there have been regular meetings between the Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Task Force (MOCA), and the finance, remittance and business processing outsourcing companies.
These meetings discuss strategies on how to make it more difficult for persons to use their services for illicit purposes and how to detect them speedily.
By Andrea Braham, JIS Reporter