JIS News

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, K.D. Knight has said that the Government of Jamaica will play an active role in the global campaign against terrorism as the country is not immune to the possibility of terrorist attacks.
Speaking against the background of the drafting of Anti-Terrorism Legislation, Minister Knight noted: “All the world may love Jamaica but all the world certainly cannot be said to love all the hundreds of thousands who visit us. That is why we must protect our people and those who visit.”
He said Jamaica’s campaign against terrorism would take into account “[terrorism] in all its forms and manifestations, and the attendant efforts to combat these threats, and to strengthen international peace and security.”
Minister Knight’s comments came when he officially opened a three-day seminar on anti-terrorism legislation today (April 13) at the Ministry’s head office on Dominica Drive in Kingston. The objective of the seminar is to facilitate informed discussion on the proposed legislation by a wide cross-section of special interest groups in the Jamaican society, including representatives from the private and public sectors, persons from academia, the church, and human rights organizations.
The seminar is meant to receive their varying views and comments.
As Jamaica is a member state to the United Nations, an obligatory condition of its membership is that each country is mandated to have anti-terrorism legislation in place, in conformity with the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 and other relevant UN resolutions, as well as the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism.
In light of the need to implement anti-terrorism legislation, the Minister explained that: “Jamaica has been striving to honour all international obligations, and to this end, the Government has embarked on a programme to enact relevant Conventions into domestic legislation as a precursor to ratification of the Conventions”.
The Conventions, the Minister made reference to, include the 1997 International convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings; the 1999 International convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism, and the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, in particular those passed since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, including most notably, Resolution 1373, adopted by the Security Council on September 28, 2001.
Outlining the terrorist-related matters that Resolution 1373 sought to address, the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister said it required, among other things:
. Prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist activities
. Criminalize the willful provision or collection of funds by their nationals, or in their territories, with the intention that the funds should be used, or in the knowledge that they are to be used, to carry out terrorist acts
. Freeze without delay funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts
. Prohibit their nationals or any persons and entities within their territories from making economic resources available for the benefit of terrorists
. Afford one another the greatest measures of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts
. Prevention of the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on the issuance of identity papers and travel documents
. Become parties as soon as possible to the relevant international treaties relating to terrorism, including the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of December 9, 1999.
The Minister said the Government has subjected the Anti-Terrorism Bill to vigorous scrutiny, adding that “some members of the public have made important suggestions for change, and we have adopted them.”
Continuing, he said, “the study of the Bill continues, but that too has to end and an Act of Parliament enacted. This means to those who are agitating for a withdrawal of the Bill that is not on. They should concentrate on how the Bill can be strengthened and put their views forward.”
The seminar will be the ideal venue that provides the opportunity for persons to do so. The seminar’s main presentations will be made by international experts, Executive Secretary of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Steven Montblatt, and Michael De Feo of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Terrorism.

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