JIS News

Jamaica will receive an additional $35 million from the United States government to continue the fight against the illegal narcotic trade in the areas of maritime interdiction, port security, and law enforcement.
A letter of agreement to this end was signed on (Sept. 26) by Minister of National Security, Derrick Smith, and United States Ambassador, Brenda La Grange Johnson, at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices. The agreement modifies and amends the 2001 counter narcotics agreement between the countries.
Of the funds to be allocated, $14 million will go toward providing training, equipment, and vehicles to local entities engaged in air and sea port security operations.
The remainder of the sums, Minister Smith explained, will be used for law enforcement, and will provide training and commodity assistance to the Financial Investigative Division and the Tax Administration Department of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, to enhance the country’s capability to fight financial crime, through the seizure and forfeiture of criminal assets.
Stating that the fight against illegal drugs could not be done alone, Mr. Smith said he was heartened that the US government had seen it fit to modify the agreement. “We recognize that because of our fragile economy, geographical location and inadequate security capabilities, we are extremely vulnerable to the narco trade,” he pointed out.
The National Security Minister added that, “while we recognize that the main beneficiaries of the illegal drug trade may be relatively small, the number of victims, including drug addicts and innocent victims of crimes committed to support drug habits, are uncountable. It therefore behooves us as a people to do everything within our power to get rid of this scourge, which if it is allowed to continue, will have a substantial negative impact on all aspects of our development”.
In her remarks, the US Ambassador noted that the drug problem was not unique to Jamaica, and expressed the hope that through the partnership, lives could be saved.

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