Prime Minister Andrew Holness, along with the Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, met with senior officials of the United States Justice Department, which hosted a high-level meeting of law enforcement and security agencies to discuss the growing threat of transnational criminal gangs, organized criminal violence and the trafficking of illegal guns into Jamaica.
The Prime Minister addressed the working meeting hosted by Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Counselor for International Affairs, Bruce Swatrz. Also in attendance were Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary, Barbara Feinstein and several executives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Department of Justice, the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.
The meeting reviewed existing programmes and partnerships, identified gaps to be closed and explored new opportunities to advance collaboration.
In addition, there was commitment for greater and more effective information sharing.
As part of this information sharing thrust, Jamaican law enforcement has identified to US law enforcement a number of Jamaican criminal actors residing in the United States, who are directing, soliciting, or financing crime in Jamaica.
The Commissioner of Police noted that closer cooperation will ensure that criminals do not feel they have a safe haven in the United States from which to sponsor crime in Jamaica.
The Prime Minister said, “We were assured that the United States is taking even greater steps to deal with the problem of illegal export of firearms and we are pleased to note the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act which creates a legal framework to interdict and prosecute persons illegally exporting guns from the United States.”
The bill was passed in June of this year.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister asked that Jamaican traffickers, and guns destined for Jamaica, be given priority attention under this new Act.
In expressing their own commitment to greater crime fighting collaboration with Jamaica, the United States expressed confidence in the efforts of the Jamaican government and noted the increase in extradition of criminals from Jamaica who are wanted in the U.S.
Opportunities for further expansion of institutional and human resource capacity-building and training were also explored.
Following the discussions, the Prime Minister said, “Today’s meeting represents a firm step in crushing criminal networks overseas including foreign dons and gun traffickers who are soliciting, directing or sponsoring crimes, particularly murders in Jamaica.”