AN INTERNATIONAL narcotics report published on Tuesday has claimed that Jamaica has a conviction rate for murder of five per cent and that it is one of the reasons organised crime continues to flourish on the island.
The 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report said progress in combating narcotics, illicit trafficking and corruption has been hobbled by an "underfunded,overburdened and sluggish criminal justice system with limited effectiveness in obtaining criminal convictions".
The report also notes that the courts continue to be plagued "with a culture of trial postponements and delay".
"This lack of efficacy contributes to impunity for many of the worst criminal offenders and gangs, an abnormally high rate of violent crimes, lack of cooperation by witnesses and jurors, frustration among police officers and the public, a significant social cost and drain on the economy, and a disincentive for international investment," the report said.
Noting that Jamaica continued to make slow but steady progress in combating narcotics trafficking, corruption and organised crime in 2012, the report said there were success stories in the police anti-corruption programme, the police forensic laboratory, the community-based policing initiative, and the vetted police units attacking narcotics and lottery scams.
"There were also successes within the offices of the Independent Commission of Investigations, the Financial Investigations Division and the contractor general, which struggled with limited resources to reduce civilian deaths resulting from police actions, financial crime, and corruption in government contracting, respectively," the report noted.
SLOW PROGRESS IN COURTS
It, however, bemoaned the fact that the momentum of progress gained within Jamaica's law-enforcement agencies is being obstructed by the inability of prosecutors and the courts to secure prompt convictions.
In the meantime, the report says fewer persons were arrested last year for drug-related offences despite high-profile organised criminal gangs continuing to operate successfully on the island.
Drug-related arrests decreased to 17,481 in 2012, compared to 20,216 in 2011, the report said.
The report also noted that gangs were sometimes afforded community tolerance or protection and, in some cases, support through police corruption.