Wed | Aug 21, 2019

Organised transnational crime major part of Jamaica - Chang

Published:Wednesday | July 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Horace Chang

Some of the major players in transnational crime in the region are Jamaicans who are posing a serious threat to the country, according to Minister of National Security Horace Chang.

Speaking at an Anti-Illicit Trade Conference in Kingston yesterday, Chang said that organised transnational criminality has become a major part of the country.

"If the legitimate business and the big Jamaican corporations had taken to the Caribbean and Central American in the way the criminals have done, our economy would be growing with a very healthy click, and there would be significant improvement in all areas of our economic activity," said Chang.

Chang pointed out that more than 80 per cent of the homicides in Jamaica are carried out by guns which were funded by the illicit trade, and for this reason, the multimillion-dollar counterfeit trade is to be given serious consideration in light of the significant economic impact.

"We have to deal with it effectively, but I think sometimes our own institutions and

the wider community don't appreciate the link until activity happens in urban centres like Montego Bay, Spanish Town, and Kingston.

"They begin to be hurt by the activity; somewhere like Spanish Town where extortion became a part of the daily activity and the gangs have become a part of the institutions of Spanish Town, and the Government's commitment will be that we have to destroy them," said Chang.

The national security minister said that the Government was aware of the impact that trafficking of illegal goods has on the country and has increased expenditure on the security apparatus to deal with the issue.

"This Government has acquired two brand new patrol boats to maintain border security, ensuring we can intercept goods on the high seas and link back with C-TOC (Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime)," said Chang, "who is onshore to ensure that we get the right information, at the right time, so we can intercept some of these criminals, that are bringing back guns and other illicit goods into our country."