Pubdate: Wed, 3 Mar 2010
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2010 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Referenced: The report and Chapter III, 


The United States Department of State on Monday released its annual 
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report in which it chastised 
the Bruce Golding-led administration for its handling of the 
extradition request for Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher 'Dudus' 
Coke and questioned Jamaica's commitment to the fight against 

Below is the full text of the report on Jamaica.


Jamaica remains the Caribbean's largest source of marijuana for the 
United States. It is also a transit point for cocaine trafficked from 
South America. While cooperation between Government of Jamaica (GOJ) 
and US Government (USG) law enforcement agencies remained strong, 
delays in proceeding with the significant extradition request for a 
major alleged narcotics and firearms trafficker who is reported to 
have ties to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, and subsequent delays 
in other extradition requests, have called into question Kingston's 
commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the US.

The GOJ's ambitious anticorruption and anticrime legislative agendas 
announced in 2007 remain stalled in Parliament. Five anticrime 
proposals under consideration as part of an extensive agenda to 
address the widespread crime challenges have yet to be debated by 
Parliament. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Status of Country

Porous sea and air ports serve as direct export locations of 
marijuana and cocaine to the United States. Jamaican law stipulates 
that consumption of cocaine, heroin and marijuana are illegal, with 
marijuana being the most frequently abused. The possession and use of 
MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) is controlled 
by Jamaica's Food and Drug Act and is currently subject to light, 
non-criminal penalties.

Jamaica's murder rate per capita reached 1,672 in 2009 making it one 
of the highest in the world. The difficult economic situation has 
spawned a significant increase in aggravated crime such as larceny, 
robbery and rape. This, in turn, has placed a national spotlight on 
increasingly brazen criminal activity throughout the country which 
continues to threaten civil society. A particular focus of concern 
has been the increasing activity of organised crime, which permeates 
both the legitimate business sector as well as the political sector. 
The "guns for ganja" trade exacerbates the problem as undocumented 
handguns continue to flow freely into the country. Recent assessments 
indicate that approximately 70 per cent of the illegal firearms 
entering Jamaica originated from the US.

Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives: The Ministry of National Security (MNS) and the 
Ministry of Justice (MOJ) held a two-day high-level forum to discuss 
organised crime and its impact on Jamaica's political and economic 
stability. The MNS outlined an ambitious set of legislative proposals 
which included tackling the drugs for guns trade, lottery scams, 
extortion, and the trafficking of drugs and people. These proposals 
are currently being reviewed at the Cabinet level with the hopes of 
being presented to Parliament for ratification. Efforts to reform the 
police force, as mandated by the GOJ-approved Police Strategic Review 
in 2007, have yet to yield significant results in a law enforcement 
system that is plagued by corruption and inefficiencies.

The GOJ took steps to ensure greater accountability in the 
implementation of the anti-money laundering provisions of the 
Financial Investigative Division Act enacted in late 2008. Procedural 
training was provided to judges, prosecutors and investigators on how 
to apply the new legislation with further training exercises planned 
for the next two years. A Code of Practice for investigators has been 
developed to guide officials in the execution of their powers and is 
expected to be sent to Parliament. The Bank of Jamaica and the 
Financial Services Commission regulate compliance with the Proceeds 
of Crime Act of 2007 by financial sector institutions. As a result of 
enforcement efforts, 31 persons were charged with money laundering; 
$86 million (Jamaican dollars) in property seized; $3 million (US 
dollars) seized; and $1,335,724 (US Dollars) forfeited.

Jamaica is not in full compliance with the Egmont Group requirements. 
The Financial Action Task Force has deemed that Jamaica has complied 
fully with three of the recommendations, is largely compliant in 27 
areas, partially compliant in 13, and non-compliant in five areas.

Pervasive corruption at Kingston's container and bulk terminals 
continues to undermine the USG Container Security and MegaPorts (CSI) 
initiatives team's activities. In an effort to combat corruption, the 
Commissioner of Jamaican Customs Department has taken measures to 
crack down on importers who evade customs duties and to dismiss staff 
complicit in criminal activity.

Accomplishments: Drug-related arrests were relatively stagnant at 
6,346 arrests for 2009. Drug seizure levels showed a dramatic 
decrease with approximately nine metric tons of marijuana seized 
compared to nearly 32 metric tons in 2008. The GOJ seized 222 
kilograms of cocaine, 2,785 Ecstasy tablets and 3.2 metric tons of hashish.

Law Enforcement Efforts: Two years after the strategic review of the 
police force, the GOJ has yet to implement the necessary recommended 
reforms. The slow paced, along with the increasing rate of aggravated 
crime compelled the Jamaican Executive Office (JEO), MNS, and the 
Police Services Commission (PSC) to assess the overall effectiveness 
of Police Commissioner Lewin's leadership.

Shortly after a public statement of no confidence was announced by 
the prime minister, Commissioner Lewin tendered his resignation and 
left office on November 6, 2009. He provided few details for his 
resignation but stated that there were numerous problems that he 
encountered with the authorities that conflicted with the macro 
management of law and order in Jamaica. The Jamaica Constabulary 
Force (JCF) senior official Owen Ellington was appointed acting 
police commissioner until the PSC formally appoints a permanent 
replacement in January 2010. While he has taken a strong public 
stance to eliminate corruption, he could face, as his predecessor 
did, internal, judicial and political roadblocks that hinder efforts 
to reform the police. In the past, these battles have paralysed the 
commissioner's authority and ability to affect change on the force. 
If this continues, Commissioner Ellington's fate could be similar to 
the previous three police commissioners who, despite the best of 
intentions, could not secure the necessary legislative support and 
political will to underscore their reform efforts at a time when 
murder and other violent crimes threaten to overwhelm the country.

The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement (ICE) Assistant Attache office in Kingston currently 
supports a 41-person JCF Vetted Unit with investigative 
responsibility over violations of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), 
weapons smuggling, human trafficking, human smuggling, money 
laundering, and fraud investigations. Much of the unit's 
investigative efforts have been focused primarily on investigating 
lottery scam cases under the auspices of the Jamaican Operations 
Linked to Telemarketing (JOLT) Task Force. The task force was 
established to combat the overwhelming amount of fraudulent monetary 
schemes perpetrated on United States citizens. Since inception of 
JOLT in May 2009, the task force has yielded 60 arrests, seized 
$283,460 (Jamaican dollars), repatriated $251,892.00 (US dollars) 
back to victims in the United States, and contributed to the opening 
of approximately 140 domestic ICE cases.

Corruption: As a matter of policy, GOJ does not facilitate or 
encourage illicit production or distribution of narcotic or 
psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering 
of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, pervasive public 
corruption continues to undermine efforts against drug-related and 
other crimes, and plays a major role in the safe passage of drugs and 
drug proceeds through Jamaica. For the first time, corruption ranked 
first to crime and violence as the area of greatest concern for 
Jamaicans. It remains the major barrier to improving counternarcotics 
efforts. Indeed, Jamaica's delay in processing the US extradition 
request for a major suspected drug and firearms trafficker with 
reported ties to the ruling party highlights the potential depth of 
corruption in the government.

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) investigates any report of 
corruption, and takes swift disciplinary action when warranted in 
furtherance of its zero tolerance policy. Unfortunately, a bill 
creating an Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor remains stuck in 
Parliament despite having the requisite legislative majority needed 
for passage. There has not been legislative action to create a 
National Anti-corruption Agency (NIIA), which could satisfy the 
Inter-American Convention against Corruption's requirements. However, 
the Anti-Corruption branch (ACB), headed by an internationally 
recruited police officer, continues to have success in identifying 
and removing corrupt officials, which included the dismissal of 59 
JCF personnel since March 2009. The Branch's number one task is to 
target high-level officers responsible for corruption. The GOJ now 
requires senior police officers to sign employment contracts to 
improve accountability and facilitate the speedy dismissal of corrupt 
police officers.

Agreements and Treaties: Jamaica and the US have a Mutual Legal 
Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in place, which assists in evidence sharing. 
The US and Jamaica have a reciprocal asset-sharing agreement, and a 
bilateral law enforcement agreement governing cooperation on stopping 
the flow of illegal drugs by maritime means. Jamaica is a party to 
the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal 
Matters. The GOJ signed, but has not ratified, the Caribbean Regional 
Maritime Counterdrug Agreement. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN 
Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances 
and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. 
Jamaica is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the 
UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its three 
Protocols, as well as the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

Until August 2009, the extradition treaty between the USG and the GOJ 
had been actively and successfully used by the United States to 
extradite suspected criminals from Jamaica. Extradition requests were 
routinely and timely processed by Jamaican political and judicial 
authorities. The GOJ's unusual handling of the August request for the 
extradition of a high-profile Jamaican crime lord with reported ties 
to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, which currently holds a majority 
in Parliament, on alleged drug and firearms trafficking charges 
marked a dramatic change in GOJ's previous cooperation on 
extradition, including a temporary suspension in the processing of 
all other pending requests and raises serious questions about the 
GOJ's commitment to combating transnational crime. The high-profile 
suspect resides in and essentially controls the Kingston 
neighbourhood known as Tivoli Gardens, a key constituency for the 
Jamaica Labour Party. Jamaica's processing of the extradition request 
has been subjected to unprecedented delays, unexplained disclosure of 
law enforcement information to the press, and unfounded allegations 
questioning US compliance with the MLAT and Jamaican law.

Cultivation/production: Natural environmental barriers such as 
swamps, marshes and mountainous terrains make it difficult to conduct 
marijuana crop surveys. Marijuana is grown in areas generally 
inaccessible to vehicular traffic on small plots in both rocky 
terrain and along the tributaries of the Black River in Saint 
Elizabeth. Eradication of marijuana decreased this year, with 254.9 
hectares eliminated compared with 423 hectares eliminated in 2008. 
Much of this is due to fiscal constraints within the JDF.

Jamaican law also prohibits the use of herbicides; therefore only 
manual eradication is conducted. The manufacture, sale, transport, 
and possession of Ecstasy, methamphetamine, or the precursor 
chemicals used to produce them remains regulated by civil and 
administrative rather than criminal authorities. Jamaica is not a 
producer of precursor chemicals or other chemical substances, and 
therefore relies on the export countries to conform to international 
standards governing export verification. Jamaica does not import the 
prime components used in combination with diverted chemical 
substances for the production of synthetic drugs. Furthermore, the 
importation and sale of pharmaceutical products and chemical 
substances are regulated, and reinforced with fines or imprisonment. 
Additionally, other controls exist to monitor the usage of 
pharmaceutical products and chemical substances, including register 
controls, inspections and audits.

Drug flow/transit: Cocaine smugglers continued to use maritime 
containers, couriers, checked luggage, and bulk commercial shipments 
to move cocaine through Jamaica to the United States. There was a 
noticeable increase by law enforcement in detection of liquid cocaine 
secreted into consumer goods and luggage. Marijuana traffickers 
continue to barter for cocaine and illegal weapons. While Operation 
Kingfish, a multinational a multinational taskforce (GOJ, US, United 
Kingdom and Canada) to target high-profile, organised crime gangs, 
continued to successfully operate, it has not been able to 
exclusively focus on high-powered leaders of criminal gangs. This is 
due to the fact that these leaders are afforded community and, in 
some cases, police and political protection. Additionally, their 
activity is often linked with legitimate business holdings.

Domestic programmes/demand reduction: Jamaica has several demand 
reduction programmes, including the Ministry of Health's National 
Council on Drug Abuse. US funding supported the provision of books 
and teaching staff to an inner-city after-school programme. The GOJ 
operates five treatment centres through the Ministry of Health. The 
GOJ/Organisation of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control 
Commission (CICAD) university-level certificate programme in drug 
addiction and drug prevention remains active. The United Nations 
Office Drug Control (UNODC) works directly with the GOJ and NGOs on 
demand reduction; however, due to limited resources these programmes 
have limited impact.

US Policy Initiatives and Programmes

Policy Initiatives: The USG supports counternarcotics projects in 
Jamaica designed to increase the capacity of its law enforcement 
agencies to reduce the trafficking of illicit narcotics through 
Jamaica and sustain improvements in law-enforcement capabilities 
through modernisation and professionalisation of the JCF, while 
maintaining a strong and corruption-free law enforcement institution. 
The pressures of narcotics trafficking, money laundering, corruption 
and crime undermine the rule of law and democratic governance. 
Supporting Jamaica's transformation into a more secure, democratic, 
prosperous and stable partner represents a major US policy goal. This 
included enhancing the abilities of Jamaica's law enforcement 
agencies to detect and intercept shipments and detain traffickers.

Bilateral Cooperation: In 2009, the USG provided training and 
material support to elements of the JCF and JDF to strengthen their 
counternarcotics, and anticorruption capabilities and improve the 
investigation, arrest, and prosecution of organised crime, including 
assisting the GOJ with vetting of specialised units within the JCF. 
The Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) received specialised 
training, equipment, guidance and operational support from the US 
Marshals permanently stationed in Kingston. The US Marshals opened 71 
new cases and closed 198 cases involving US fugitives. Jamaican 
authorities made 14 arrests, 15 extraditions and eight deportations 
during the year.

The JDF Coast Guard participated in joint deployments with the USG in 
Jamaican waters during 2009 under the auspices of "Operation Riptide" 
which allow both nations to conduct law enforcement operations within 
each other's maritime zones and is authorised under the Joint 
Jamaica-United States Maritime Cooperation Agreement Concerning 
Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime Trafficking. In addition, 
the US Coast Guard provided JDF Coast Guard resident, mobile and 
on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and 
maintenance, search and rescue, port security, and leadership and 
management, while a three-phase training exercise was conducted, 
which covered land navigation, port security, and search and rescue, 
boat maintenance and repair, and leadership principles.

Multilateral Cooperation: While multi-nationals (United States, 
United Kingdom and Canada) continue to provide assistance to the GOJ 
for the implementation of 124 recommendations cited in the Police 
Strategic Review, a parallel strategy to enhance judicial operations 
has gained support from all partners. The priority to assist the 
Anti-Corruption Branch with tackling corruption among senior police 
officers while, in tandem, strengthening the judiciary infrastructure 
so it can adequately process all forms of criminality remains high. 
Recognising the abysmal five per cent conviction rate for murders, 
the US-sponsored a comprehensive training programme which focused on 
defining the role of the prosecutor, developing broader analytical 
tools, and applying their skills via mock case studies in concert 
with the United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service, the United 
Kingdom's High Commission and the GOJ.

The Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law 
Enforcement Affairs' Narcotics Affairs Section in Kingston also 
brought the Governments of Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic 
together to define, discuss and formulate a multilateral strategy to 
reduce transnational crimes in the region and organised crime 
activity between the three countries. As a result, the GOJ and 
Government of Haiti were in the final stages of drafting a security 
agreement covering a wide range of issues including joint operations, 
personnel exchanges, joint training, intelligence sharing, 
immigration, drugs and narcotics interdiction, transnational crime 
and gang reduction.

A two-day meeting comprising of representatives from the Jamaican, 
American, British and Canadian law enforcement agencies, several 
major international airline companies, and the Montego Bay Airport 
Authority took place in Montego Bay in December to discuss airport 
operations. The purpose of the meeting was to review current airport 
operations, identify airport assets and challenges, determine 
operational gaps, develop a measurable strategic response to combat 
previously defined roadblocks, and enhance cooperation between 
international law enforcement partners, the airlines and the airport 
authority. Over the course of the two-day meeting all objectives were 
met including a short-list of immediately actionable items for all 
players. Future meetings and task force groups have been established 
for the purpose of resource de-confliction, information sharing and 
strategic planning development.

The Road Ahead

The rise of gang-led violent crime and corruption will continue to 
pose a significant threat to social stability in Jamaica. As trust in 
the government to provide peace and security wanes daily, some 
communities are resorting to the use of "vigilante style" law and 
order by forming community policing units to target criminals who 
threaten their families and businesses. We encourage the GOJ to 
enhance its collaboration with the USG, and other regional partners, 
to develop a comprehensive gang-reduction strategy and pass 
legislation to criminalise participation in organised criminal gangs 
which is currently under review by Parliament.

The GOJ is encouraged to demonstrate its political will to address 
corruption by successfully investigating, prosecuting and convicting 
corrupt officials at all levels of government service and by the 
timely extradition of fugitives in accordance with the provisions of 
the bilateral extradition treaty, without regard to political 
influence or party affiliation.

We encourage the GOJ to maintain the independence of the 
Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor, the JCF's ACB, the Police 
Civilian Oversight Authority and the Financial Investigative 
Division, and provide them with the resources and political backing 
to undertake their tasks. We also encourage the GOJ to support the 
commissioner of police to implement the reform recommendations of the 
Ministry of National Security's Strategic Review of the JCF to ensure 
a professional non-corrupt organisation.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake