Big drug seizures in 2021 the result of coordinated efforts, says Chang
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang (File photo)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — During 2021, a total of 34,832 kilograms of marijuana and 1,226 kilograms of cocaine were seized by the police, according to data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

These seizures occurred inland, at the airports, and at controlled and uncontrolled seaports.

The disclosure was made by National Security Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Horace Chang, at the opening of the Organisation of American States (OAS): Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) training workshop on monitoring, and evaluation of national drug policies, strategies and plans, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The two-day training workshop was held June 15-16.

Dr Chang said implementation of several key mechanisms and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders resulted in the seizures.

These include the establishment of special investigative units by the Narcotics Division, aimed at disrupting and dismantling narcotics organisations related to the drugs flow between Jamaica and the drug consumer countries.

Also, the review and amendment of legislation critical to anti-drug efforts has had a significant impact on the influx of illicit drugs into the country, including the enhancement and strengthening of Jamaica’s Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism legal framework and information/data sharing mechanisms available to law-enforcement operatives.

In addition, Chang said there is an inter-agency collaboration for the collection of data used to analyse trends and intelligence for the identification and short-listing of suspects (anti-narcotics interdictions), which are done at sea. These are collaborative efforts between the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Marine Police of the JCF.

Another deterrent according to the security minister is the establishing and strengthening of measures for international and regional cooperation through the signing of international agreements and the enactment of legislation to provide an effective framework to facilitate the signing and implementation of these agreements.

“Reference is made to the steps being taken by Jamaica to amend its Maritime Drug Trafficking (Suppression) Act, 1998 to facilitate the ratification of the Treaty of San José. The Treaty of San José represents a regional effort to tackle the issue of drug trafficking by air and sea through proactive law-enforcement cooperation,” Chang said.

He emphasised that it is through the implementation of these mechanisms that Jamaica has been able to decrease the illicit supply of drugs that enter the country. The minister noted that responsibility to manage and implement supply reduction measures are tackled collaboratively through the JCF, the JDF, the Jamaica Customs Agency and the Port Security Corps, among others.

The workshop was hosted by the Government of Jamaica, in collaboration with OAS/CICAD, with funding support from the Government of Canada.

It aims is to support OAS member states in preparing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the national drug policy strategy or plan.

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