The government of Jamaica’s capacity to reduce the cultivation, production and trafficking of illicit drugs, is being boosted through a $252 million allocation to the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
This is contained in the 2012-2013 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 state’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.
The initiative got underway in April 2011 and achievements up to April 2012 include: the training of law enforcement officials in the areas of community-based surveillance, polygraph instruction, cyber investigations and information sharing.
Other successes are: provision of equipment and training for marijuana eradication and interdiction; Jamaica Defence Force (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.
Anticipated physical targets for this financial year are: to purchase and repair parts for interdiction vessels and equipment; provide technical equipment to the JDF operations centre and improve communication within the Jamaican government as well as between CBSI partner nation’s militaries; and to strengthen the professionalism of and reduce corruption within Jamaican law enforcement institutions by continuing the various training on money laundering and cyber-crime cases.
Targets initially envisaged included: 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 is being implemented by the Ministry of National Security and scheduled to run until March 2014.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter