Several financial institutions, remittance companies, diplomats and members of the security forces will come together to participate in the second forum on the lottery scam, to be hosted by Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel, on Wednesday, November 7, starting at 8 a.m.
The forum will discuss strategies in support of government and private-sector initiatives to eradicate the lottery scam and address its impact on security, trade and foreign relations.
Earl Jarrett, general manager of Jamaica National, who will chair the forum, says the fraudulent activities continue to pose one of the highest threats to the country's development, despite strengthened efforts on the part of the administration to tackle the issue.
"This is a threat to all of society. The efforts to deal with these growing illicit activities cannot be the remit of the Government alone," Jarrett stated, "To deal fully with the problem, we must look into all its facets so that, in addition to the legislation, policies and framework building, we can develop the right interventions that will mitigate the problem and encourage sustainable behaviour change."
The fraudulent scheme, which operates mainly in western Jamaica, is at the centre of several violent crimes, with the parish of St James being a major source for the trade. That same parish, which is a major player in the island's tourism sector, is now experiencing the highest rates of murder in the country that are directly linked to the lottery scam, according to media reports. The reports show that the parish has twice the number of murders per capita of any other parish.
Reports also indicate that income from the scam is some US$300 million (J$27 billion) annually, most of which enters the island through remittance agencies, as victims are often forced to remit funds to claim their prizes.
The forum will, therefore, highlight the Government of Jamaica's initiatives to curb the scam; assess the impact of the lottery scam on the banking and remittance sectors; and also feature discussions from a foreign relations perspective.
"We note the advocacy of several international groups who have initiated campaigns to educate persons in the United States, who are usually targeted by the scammers; and, this transnational crime has significant implications for our diplomatic relationships. Foreign relations is thus a critical part of any discourse about the issue," Jarrett continued.
Presentations will be made by the US Ambassador to Jamaica Pamela Bridgewater; the minister of state in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Arnaldo Brown; State Minister in the Ministry of Science Technology Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson; Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington; Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn; and others.
"The intent of this forum is to examine the concerted efforts that are being made to address the situation, by bringing stakeholders in financial and social sectors together to look closely at how our economic institutions and sectors are being affected," Jarrett said.
Full Caption: In this 2010 photograph, former Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson (right) discusses strategies being implemented by the Government to address the lottery scam in Jamaica. With him are Earl Jarrett (second left), general manager, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), and MoneyGram International representatives (from left) Dennis Wildsmith, vice-president, Anti-Fraud; Steve Higgins, Caribbean regional manager; and Juan Ma˝uel Gonzalez, manager, Compliance Review and Training. They were participants at a forum on the lottery scam in Jamaica, hosted by JNBS and its subsidiary, JN Money Services Limited, in concert with MoneyGram International, at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel. - Contributed