Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Crime fight needs ‘coalition of the just’ - Scotland

Published:Sunday | October 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall

Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland has called for a 'coalition of the just' to tackle the scourge of organised crime.

Going into a recent meeting of Commonwealth law ministers in The Bahamas, where it was noted that member nations are dealing with a frightening escalation of violent and virtual crime, the impact of global terrorism and violent extremism, among other challenges, Scotland told The Sunday Gleaner that there need to be a commitment and resolution to find solutions to these issues.

Accepting that this is a problem facing Jamaica and all members of the Commonwealth, Scotland argued that while the criminals are creating a conspiracy of the dishonest and disreputable, law-abiding persons must follow suit. "This is a scourge that is hitting all of us and I have been saying the crooks are coming together to undermine all of us and it is time we create a conspiracy of our own," she declared. "A conspiracy of the just is needed so that the (law) ministers, and all of those of us who want to support the rule of law, can come together to undermine what they want to do in our countries and to really deliver the sort of services and opportunities that our people want."

She noted that the Commonwealth has 2.4 billion people in 52 countries, with 60 per cent of the population under the age of 30. "So we really have to engage our young people and try, with them, to create a future that is fit for purpose and will really deliver on the objectives and the aspirations, the hopes and dreams of all of us for a better safer world," said Scotland.

After three days of deliberations in The Bahamas, Commonwealth ministers pledged to pursue key law reforms in a number of areas. Ministers and attorneys general agreed to review and strengthen legal frameworks and legislation to prevent the grooming and recruitment of terrorists and to stop them crossing borders and being funded.

The theme of the meeting was 'Strengthening the Rule of Law Through Technology', and all ministers, including Jamaica's Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, were given access to Commonwealth Secretariats Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform, which provides technical assistance and an online platform with best practice guides, model laws, standards, templates and legal insight on a range of issues.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com