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State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, has re-affirmed the administration’s commitment to effectively addressing advance fee fraud, such as the lotto scam, given the negative implications for the economy and the county’s image internationally.

“Certainly, for local and international investors, they want to be confident that where they invest their money is a place where the residents subscribe to law and order. In that context…the Jamaican state is doing everything, at all levels, to ensure that we respond and treat with it effectively,” Mr. Brown assured.

The State Minister, who was addressing a Lottery Scam Forum hosted by Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew on Wednesday (November 7),  noted that while the lottery scam is not “unique and specific’ to Jamaica, it is “very challenging issue” for the country, within the global context.

“That goes to the heart of the image that we want to project on the international arena, which is the image of a country where its citizens are law-abiding and where we are guided and governed by international norms, and where we subscribe to these international norms.  Therefore, Jamaica must be positioned, in the global context, as a state that is doing everything in its power to stamp out transnational crime and transnational criminal activity, including advanced fee fraud,” he argued.

He said decisive action is being taken to address the issue, through the passage of relevant legislation such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the attendant Regulations, as well as the Proceeds of Crimes Act (POCA) and Regulations. Amendments are also being made to the Evidence Act to enable overseas victims to give evidence by video link.

Mr. Brown noted that the country also subscribes to some 40 global Financial Task Force Recommendations of Anti-Money Laundering, and nine Special Recommendations on combating financing of terrorism, and the global recommendations are being implemented in Jamaica administratively, particularly where legislative gaps may exist.

“Jamaica… is also part of the Caribbean Task Force that is responsible for ensuring that the financial sector of the region, subscribes to international norms, and that it is not vulnerable to these type of illicit activities. But we cannot become complacent…because this issue is a pervasive and rising issue…which we must utterly, as a society, reject collectively,” he underscored.

Mr. Brown noted that the Mutual Legal Assistance legislation, which enables Jamaica to respond to requests for legal assistance from several countries in criminal matters, is also an “important tool” in the international fight against advanced fee fraud.

“I also want to indicate that…our law enforcement agencies work very closely with international law enforcement agencies, including Interpol, to seek to arrest this challenge and this is part of the collaborative effort that has to take place in dealing with what is a transnational criminal activity,” he added.