'To solve crime, take gangs into consideration' - Nelson

No. 48 Monday, February 01, 2010
Minister of National Security Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson says the issue of gangs must be taken into consideration when making any attempt to solve crime in the Caribbean. 
   The Minister was the keynote speaker at United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) workshop on “charting the way forward for the preparation of the Caribbean Regional Human Development Report on citizen’s security” at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston on recently. 
   Minister Nelson said gangs across the Caribbean have become highly sophisticated business entities that engage in drug smuggling and other forms of criminal activity.
   According to him nearly 70 percent of murders committed in Jamaica are due to gang related activity.
   He said gangs have become so widespread that they are at a point where they are franchising across Jamaica.
   The national Security Minister said Jamaica is currently exploring an anti-gang strategy/legislation which will be promulgated no later than March of this year
   He said the legislation is “at its worst draconian, but necessary” if the gang problem is to be solved in Jamaica.
   Minister Nelson said the region has been severely hit by a multiplicity of complex developments which have led to the creation of sophisticated organized crime, equipped with wealth that outstrips many if not all of the economies in the Caribbean.
   He outlined that the sheer size of the drug trafficking business across the region is of major concern.
   Minister Nelson said its value is in excess of $US5 billion and it also generates an estimated $60 billion every year in organized money laundering through the offshore finance sector in the region.
   The Minister said further that renewed vigour and combined resources are integral in taking on the wealth of illegal conglomerates called underground criminal networks in the Caribbean.
   Minister Nelson said it is imperative that small states co-operate with the wider community as bilateral and multilateral collaboration are essential in addressing the violent consequences of crime.
   He said it is time for the Caribbean to formulate Caribbean legislative framework to deal with the issue.
   “Too often we in the Caribbean sit and make policies but then individualize our approaches and close our eyes to the need to harmonize” he said.
   The National Security minister said the criminals have long made a paradigm shift and it was time for Caribbean people to do the same.
   The workshop takes place January 27-29, 2010.
   Its aim is to engage stakeholders in discussions and provide a medium of exchange for views and ideas related to the challenges of the Caribbean Regional Human Development Report.
   The purpose is also to identify methodologies and strategies to be used throughout the process. 

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