JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, today (October 19), launched ‘Operation Kingfish’, a collaborative effort of the Governments of Jamaica, the United States, and the United Kingdom, to arrest and prosecute leaders of organized crime and violence.
Dr. Phillips gave details of this new intelligence-driven Task Force, at a special press briefing, held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel in New Kingston.
“The main aim of the Task Force is to break up organized and dangerous criminal gangs that are at the root of most of the gun violence and murder, in which some of our urban communities have become trapped,” the Minister said.
He vowed to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in drug related crime, shooting or extortion, or other criminal acts, whatever their social status or political persuasion.
The other aims of the Task Force, the National Security Minister pointed out, were to increase community confidence, and reduce the fear of crime, so that people could resume their normal day-to-day activities.
Dr. Phillips explained that ‘Operation Kingfish’ was different from previous initiatives in at least three respects – it was beginning with a high degree of credibility and trust with the best capabilities in the Security Forces available to it; it was the result of international collaboration; and the Task Force would be provided with legal advice in the preparation of cases, from the very outset of investigations, so that cases could be better constructed to hold up in court.
Additionally, ‘Operation Kingfish’ will have a new toll-free, dedicated telephone line for the receipt of confidential information about the ‘big fish’ behind criminal activities.
Commenting on its credibility, Dr. Phillips told the gathering that the Task Force, which has already begun operating, was drawn from vetted and carefully selected members of both the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force, under the co-ordination of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Glenmore Hinds. Superintendent Denver Frater would act as the Chief Community Liaison Officer between the community and the Task Force.
The Minister noted that collaboration with the international partners comprised officers from law enforcement agencies in the US and UK, working with Jamaican officers, offering training and mentoring.
“The support from our international partners must be understood in the context that the struggle against organized crime is an inter-connected one in today’s globalised world. Somebody is killed in London and a reprisal killing takes place in Kingston or Portmore,” Dr. Phillips said.
Highlighting the success of previous initiatives, the Minister said that the Anti-crime Initiative and the campaign against major figures in narcotics trafficking, had achieved considerable success in disrupting the illegal drug trade.
He pointed out that one measure of the success was that at least eight individuals, who have been the target of long-term investigations for their roles as high-level drug traffickers in the international arena, have been arrested. “These eight arrests led to the seizure of substantial assets worth millions of dollars,” he pointed out.
British High Commissioner, Peter Mathers and US Ambassador, Sue Cobb, who were present at the launch, endorsed the new ‘Operation Kingfish’, and appealed to the Jamaican public to co-operate with the Security Forces in an effort to stamp out the scourge of crime and violence.

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