Minister of National Security, Sen. the Hon. Dwight Nelson, leaves the island for the Republic of Cuba tomorrow where he will sign two agreements with the Cuban government. These agreements are aimed at helping to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relationships to ensure effective cross border efforts in combating drug trafficking and other forms of organised crimes.
The Minister's visit comes in the wake of the recognition that there is a growing number of illicit drugs and weapons trafficking groups using the Cuban and Jamaican maritime and airspace to move drugs and firearms in and out of Jamaica, Haiti and the Bahamas.
Minister Nelson will be accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ms. Dianne McIntosh, Jamaica Defence Force Chief of Defence Staff Major General Antony Anderson, and Police Commissioner Owen Ellington.
Since 2006, the Jamaican and Cuban authorities have provided mutual support in the identification, tracking and apprehension of Jamaicans involved in the trafficking of illicit drugs and firearms.
Minister Nelson says a formal and structured relationship between the Jamaican and Cuban law enforcement entities is likely to improve the flow of information and intelligence.
The National Security Minister said this in turn will improve the fight against organised crime, particularly efforts to combat the illicit trade in small arms and drugs.
"These agreements are intended not just to streamline the flow, but to increase information and intelligence sharing between Jamaica and Cuba on the movement of guns and drugs and the groups involved in their movement between the two countries" added Minister Nelson.
In November last year, an exploratory meeting was held between a delegation from Jamaica’s Ministry of National Security and officials from the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba in relation to maritime and police cooperation.
Arising out of that exploratory meeting, both parties agreed to pursue five agreements:
Operational Agreement for Maritime Cooperation between the Ministry of National Security, Jamaica and the Ministry of the Interior of Cuba;
Operational Police cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of National Security, Jamaica and the Ministry of the Interior of Cuba;
Memorandum of understanding between the Governments of Jamaica and Cuba on Counter Narcotics and Transnational Organised Crime;
Agreement between Jamaica and Cuba on the Mutual legal Assistance in Criminal Matters;
Agreement between Jamaica and Cuba on the Execution of Criminal Sentences
The Operational Maritime and Police Cooperation Agreements which Minister Nelson will sign during this week’s visit to Cuba incorporated all but the last two agreements listed above. The other two will be pursued at a later date.