As much as it hurts our nationalistic sensibilities to concede it, we hope that United States law-enforcement agencies build cases and extradite the so-called lottery scammers from Jamaica.
If they do, our Government, as the national security minister, Peter Bunting, has pledged it will, must cooperate with the legitimate requests of the US authorities. We do not expect the stalling and obfuscations displayed when the Americans attempted to get the now-confessed drug dealer and gunrunner, Christopher Coke.
The fact is that despite the recent passage by the House of Representatives of what, on the face of it, is a bill to tackle the problem, Jamaica, fundamentally, lacks the capacity to deal with the problem.
Notwithstanding the task force that deals with organised crime, our constabulary is under-resourced and overburdened, with a focus on the more than 1,000 murders that take place here annually, of which the clear-up is no more than a third.
Further, even if the police are able to construct strong cases against the con artists, the likelihood is that these would join the backlog of nearly half a million cases that clog the creaky judicial system.
The net result would continue to be an absence of effective deterrence to this pernicious form of cybercrime, which preys mainly on the elderly, translating into diminished confidence in Jamaica as a venue for business-outsourcing processes. Another way to contemplate this scenario is lack of investment, the loss of jobs, and continued poor economic performance.
But this is only part of the backdrop in support of the call from Susan Collins, the Republican member of the US Senate Committee on Ageing, for American prosecutors to have scammers tried in America.
We also perceive extradition in the context of a partnership between two friendly countries with shared interests in combating a significant problem.
Americans are the main victims of these scams in which perpetrators use people's identity information, sometimes purloined, to fleece them of money. The US estimates that its citizens are annually bilked of around US$1 billion through such fraud, of which Jamaicans are among the leading perpetrators.
But we are also victims beyond the hurt to Jamaica's image and the lost economic opportunities. Local law enforcement also says that the lottery scams also fuel crime in Jamaica - apparently as perpetrators jostle for cyber territory and play out the jealousies that accompany their quick and easy route to riches and their sense of impunity.
Cooperation with the US, and any other country that has a problem, ought to be supported by Jamaicans.
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