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Jamaica wants improvements in data sharing to fight organised crime

Published:Tuesday | June 28, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson

Regional information sharing on crime needs improvement, and Jamaica, through its prime minister, Andrew Holness, has indicated that it will be pushing for the issue to be on the packed agenda for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Conference in Guyana next week.

Holness, noting that transnational organised crime remained a threat to the region's economic growth and prosperity, said the issue required a regional response.

"The coordination, the sharing of information, the logistics - it is very critical to have a regional response to the issue of transnational organised crime. The effect of it on Jamaica is seen every day - from the trade in guns and drugs coming in from Haiti and other areas and the crime and violence that results and just the general disorder and the coalescing of gangs around these criminal economic opportunities," Holness told The Gleaner after delivering the keynote address at the closing ceremony of phase two of Exercise Tradewinds 2016.


Requires coordination


"Jamaica by itself can't respond alone to that. It requires coordination," he added.

During his address, the prime minister noted that it was not a "secret" that the region has been affected by transnational organised crime.

"Transnational crime is corrosive and it neither recognises state borders nor the strictures of law and regulation. It operates both outside and inside of legitimate institutions and corrupts the fabric of society," he told hundreds of military officials from more than 18 countries.

Some of the concerns raised are expected to be reported to CARICOM by its Implementation Agency For Crime and Security, which was also involved in the exercise.


Brings everyone together


Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Joseph DiSalvo from the United States military said the event was important in bringing together multiple countries to "address real-world issues such as transnational organised crime and also counterterrorism".

"This brings everyone together to figure out what the common regional solution is," said the military commander for the US Southern Command, which sponsored the military exercise.

Holness, DiSalvo, and head of the Jamaica Defence Force Major General Antony Anderson pronounced the Jamaica leg of Exercise Tradewinds a success.

Holness will attend the three-day CARICOM Heads of Government Conference, which starts in Guyana on Monday.

Regional security is at the top of the list of items for discussion.

According to CARICOM, the issue is "priority" for member states. The organisation said the leaders would "discuss measures to increase and improve upon the collaboration among our member states".

They will also "examine how current mechanisms are working and how they can be improved; and the legal instruments required to facilitate the desired collaboration".