Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, has said that all independent states within this hemisphere have been severely affected by an infusion of organised criminal activities, which threaten the sovereignty of these nations.
“Our states are targeted to be transshipment points for drug traffickers, and the wealth amassed by drug cartels is larger than the national budget of many of the states in the Caribbean,” Senator Nelson said.
He was speaking at a luncheon for participants in the Command (Drug Law Enforcement Course) and Instructors Training Course at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine on Thursday (July 2).
Senator Nelson said that the emergence of the “don” culture, particularly in Jamaica, the increase in the sophistication of organised criminal networks and the dramatic hike in the number of criminal gangs operating within our shores can be traced, for the most part, to the rise of the illegal drug trade and the creation of the drug culture.
He said that the training course was critical, as research has shown that much illegal drug cultivation and manufacture take place in developing nations, although production also occurs in the developed world.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson (centre) speaking with Director Principal, Bertram Milwood (right) and Executive Director, National Council on Drug Abuse, Michael Tucker, during a luncheon for participants of the Command (Drug Law Enforcement Course) and Instructors Training Course at Twickenham Park in St. Catherine on Thursday (July 2).
“In locales where the drug trade is illegal, police departments as well as courts and prisons may expend significant resources in pursuing drug-related crime. Additionally, through the influence of a number of black market players, corruption is a problem, especially in poorer societies. Sadly, consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally,” he said.
He further noted that research also showed that there is no criminal network which specialises solely in drugs. Organised crime takes advantage of a group of illicit activities such as smuggling, dealing in arms, dealing in and procuring labour, the export of dangerous and toxic items, dealing in stolen vehicles, among others, he said.
“The economic effects of drug trafficking, and in a larger sense of organised crime, are frightening,” he observed.
He said that networking was critical, and lauded the organisers of the course for involving participants from across the region. This will be effective in combating the illegal drug trade and allow greater effectiveness in achieving a Caribbean objective.
The training course, he noted, provides an excellent opportunity to garner the skills necessary to fight wealthy drug cartels.
The course which started on June 29, will last for three weeks. It includes participants drawn from the police, military customs, port security and public sector in Jamaica and regional territories.
It will cover: the 1988 United Nations Conventions Against Illicit Traffic and Money Laundering; the United Nations Conventions Against Transnational Organised Crime; the Mutual Assistance Criminal Matters Act; the Extradition Treaty; and the Proceeds of Crime Act, among others.