Jamaica Government Working to Take Profit Out of Crime

Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw (right), converses with Chief Technical Director, Financial Investigations Division (FID), Robin Sykes. (Photo Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday February 2, 2018 – Finance and the Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw, says Government is undertaking measures to combat crimes in which criminals get material gain from their illicit activity.

The measures include revisions to the Companies Act to incorporate the retention of beneficial ownership information; the designation of certain professions as reporting entities under the Terrorism Prevention Act; passage of the National Identification System Act; and the development of a system for capturing statistics related to trial matters.

“We will also see, in short order, the Micro Credit Bill and amendments to the Companies Act and Trust Act as additional steps by the Government to improve our fight against [acquisitive] crimes and those who profit from it; to improve transparency and to be able to cope in the environment [of] increased de-risking arrangements by financial institutions,” Shaw added.

He was speaking during the opening ceremony for the Financial Investigations Division’s (FID) conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, under the theme ‘Taking the Profit out of Crime: What does it take?’.

Shaw noted that most career criminals who are “in the business of making money” are adaptive, flexible and “ready to switch to more lucrative forms of crime”, citing the lotto scamming racket as an example.

He said it is therefore important that measures are “aggressively” taken that will lead to the profits of these illicit activities being taken away from criminals, and that this is done expeditiously.

The Minister lamented that taking a case to trial can sometimes take between five to seven years and, even after the arguments are closed, litigants can wait as long as three years for a judgment.

He noted that the National Security Policy underscores that removal of the profits from crime is a key objective in tackling domestic and transnational organized crimes.

“It is full time that (illicitly acquired) property be taken away from criminals…and put to the public good,” Shaw said.

British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, who spoke during the opening ceremony, said the United Kingdom remains committed to working “relentlessly” with Jamaica and other Caribbean countries to implement measures in this regard.

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