The United States and Jamaica have joined forces in a bid to tackle the increasing problem of organised crime in the country. The US-JA Advanced Counter Gang Training has brought together a team of experienced stakeholders who have been integral in dealing with gang activity.
The training aims to boost the ability of law enforcement agencies to prosecute gang members using legitimate and constitutional methods and focus on building capacity for an inter-agency approach to identify, investigate, prosecute, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations.
Participants will include personnel from various government agencies, including the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service – Financial Investigation Division (FID).
Speaking at the opening ceremony at the UWI Regional Headquarters today (March 30), Major General Antony Anderson, commissioner of police, highlighted the significance of the training in combating the widespread problem of gangs, which he noted is not just prevalent in Jamaica but worldwide. He also noted that the complexity of these matters requires time and experience to handle effectively, but expressed confidence that the training will improve the ability to deal with these issues.
“We have a lineup of gangs coming to be prosecuted; in one sense that is comforting and in another we know the amount of work that will take and I must say, based on the number of gang leaders who are actually in jail at the moment, obviously something is working,” said Anderson.
Delroy Chuck, Minister of Justice, stressed the importance of utilizing a legal framework to tackle gang violence, noting that Jamaica is not interested in going down the path of El Salvador, which has imprisoned thousands of gang members without trial under states of emergency. Instead, Jamaica intends to use legitimate and constitutional methodology to bring gangs under control.
Chuck also acknowledged the progress made by the director of public prosecutions and the police in the fight against gangs, noting that the government is determined to fight the scourge of gangs in Jamaican society.
“When I came to office you had about 30 prosecutors, we have since increased that number to 56 and we have recently put you in first-class facilities with additional space. If you need more prosecutors we are prepared to give you more prosecutors; we are determined to fight the thorn of gangs in the society of Jamaica,” said the justice minister.
Nick Perry, United States Ambassador to Jamaica, echoed the sentiments of the morning
“We support Jamaica in its efforts to build an inter-agency approach for successful gang investigation and prosecution,- I want to wish you all well as you work to complete the live exercise over the next two days and final phase of the programme,” said Perry.