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Golding leaves for special outreach session of G8 Summit

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Observer staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, June 24, 2010    

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PRIME Minister Bruce Golding is expected to leave the island today for a special outreach session of the G8 Summit in Canada which will turn the radar on transnational crime and the measures needed to combat it.

Golding is one of only three leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean who have been invited to the Summit, the others being Presidents Alvaro Uribe of Colombia and Rene Preval of Haiti. Heads of government of seven African countries -- South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Malawi, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Senegal have also been invited to participate in the Summit.

The caucus comes at a time when Jamaica is caught in the throes of a stand-off between the State and elements of the criminal underworld, which has resulted in a State of emergency for Kingston and St Andrew, which was extended to neighbouring St Catherine on Tuesday.

"It is not without some significance that I leave the island to the G8 Summit in Canada. The agenda includes a serious focus on how can we as countries that are all involved, all affected by transnational criminal activities, collaborate more effectively to assist each other in addressing this problem. It is something that is urgent," Golding said while giving details of his trip in Parliament on Tuesday.

The summit, which is being held under the theme "Recovery and New Beginnings", will address issues related to international development and the Millennium Development Goals. The discussions will also span international peace and security with special emphasis on transnational crime, including drug trafficking.

The G8 comprises the USA, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Germany and Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh will be in charge of the Government until Prime Minister Golding returns on Saturday, June 26.

In the meantime, Jamaica is to receive assistance from Colombia to bring narco-criminals to justice.

"I got a call from President Uribe. Right now we are in discussions with them about sending some of their officers here to work with our police and military, since they have the experience in terms of how to deal with this kind of brazen, aggressive narcotics-related, criminal network," Golding told Parliament.

Furthermore, he said the Government was actively pursuing international expertise and resources in order to shut down international narcotic networks.

"We are expecting to arrive, very shortly, a significant level of resource support from the United States. It will include armoured carriers; it will include additional mobile equipment for the military and for the police, protective gear and so on. We are getting additional assistance from some of our other bilateral partners," added Golding.

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