Jamaica and UK strengthen cooperation in fight against illicit drug trade

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Minister of National Security Peter Bunting (right) and British High Commissioner to Jamaica David Fitton, signing the MoU yesterday. (Photo: Michael Shaw/JIS)

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday May 29, 2015 – The governments of Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aimed at strengthening cooperation in the fight against the illicit drug trade.

The three-year MoU, signed yesterday, allows for the sharing of information and the provision of human resources and equipment by the UK to Jamaica. It is an update of an agreement signed two years ago.

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting said the renewal of the MoU is yet another concrete demonstration of the strong bonds of friendship between Jamaica and the UK.

He said that despite the many successes by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) over the years, including seizures of large quantities of drugs, and arrests and extradition of major drug kingpins, trafficking through Jamaica’s borders remains a major challenge for law enforcement.

Bunting disclosed that between 2010 and 2014, the police arrested about 1,200 persons at the ports of entry, including 1,136 at the island’s international airports for drug possession.

“The vast majority of those arrested were destined for the United Kingdom,” he said.

“Working in tandem with the UK and other bilateral partners, our highly trained law enforcement officers will bring to book, any individual, who seeks to breach our laws and put the entire society at risk.”

British High Commissioner to Jamaica David Fitton explained that the MoU allows for officers from the UK Border Force, who are based in Jamaica, to work closely with the local police and other security personnel, as well as the Jamaica Customs Department.

The Border Force is a part of the Home Office responsible for frontline border control operations at air, sea and rail ports in the UK.

“As they are working, they are also helping to train their Jamaican colleagues,” Fitton said, noting that the equipment to be provided under the MoU will be utilised by both the British and Jamaican security officers.

The High Commissioner said the MoU was a good example of Jamaica-UK cooperation that has been replicated in Africa and other parts of the world.

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