Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Cooperation between Jamaica and Belgium to be strengthened

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith (standing), addresses the Senate on Friday. To the minister’s right is Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid; and in the second row are Government Senators, Matthew Samuda and Kerensia Morrison.

Increased cooperation on criminal matters between Jamaica and the Kingdom of Belgium is to be strengthened.

This follows approval of the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) (Foreign States) (Kingdom of Belgium) Order, 2018 Resolution by members of the Senate during its sitting on Friday.

Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith, said mutual assistance can also be used to identify and recover the proceeds of crime, and is particularly important in preventing criminals from evading prosecution because evidence or proceeds are in different countries.

Senator Johnson Smith, who is also minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, said the order refers to two conventions to which both Jamaica and Belgium are parties - the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) 2005 and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime 2000.

THEIR FOCUS

"The UNCAC requires parties to the treaty to implement measures that focus on areas such as prevention, law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange. The order before us today would implement chapter four of the UNCAC international cooperation," she added.

She said as a party to the Palerma Convention and the Palerma Protocols, Jamaica has committed to taking a series of measures in relation to transnational organised crime, including the adoption and revision of frameworks relating to extradition, mutual legal assistance and law-enforcement cooperation.

"By affirming the order by resolution, we are not only safeguarding our relationship with Belgium, but we are also ensuring that our international obligations are satisfied," she said.

Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Donna Scott-Mottley, said the Opposition fully supports the resolution.

"We expect that our country will accede to these international requests, especially because the focus is on transnational crime and unearthing any kind of corruption which cuts across all borders," she said.