US DONS ON RADAR
Holness to target foreign crime lords, gangsters in Jamaican prisons
The Government is now engaged in talks with Washington to target Jamaican dons in the United States who wield resources and influence to direct murders and crimes back home.
Addressing supporters at the 79th annual conference of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) at the Arena in Kingston on Sunday, Andrew Holness, the party leader and prime minister, said that Jamaica would be asking US authorities to carry out special operations to nab Jamaican dons involved in criminal activities in the island.
He warned that the strategy of local law enforcement would change as the security forces extend the searchlight beyond those found with illegal weapons to ascertain the perpetrators behind the importation, distribution, 'locking', and use of firearms to commit crimes.
Holness said that for too long, “foreign dons” have been influencing crime in Jamaica, noting that “we are going to ensure that they can no longer stay in another country and direct crime here”.
The prime minister said it was a shame that persons who got the chance to migrate would use that opportunity to make life a living hell for their countrymen.
“Instead of sending back computers and assisting with school fees, people are sending guns and bullets to encourage you to kill your brothers and sisters. They mean us no good.
“They must be arrested and locked away for good. We will put a stop to this,” he said to cheers from the thousands of Labourites who filled the National Arena.
Holness promised to close several loopholes in the system to stem the flow of illegal weapons into Jamaica.
“The discussions have focused on greater security measures at our ports, Ambassador, including securing more scanners,” Holness said to N. Nick Perry, the Jamaican native who is US ambassador, who, along with other diplomats, attended the JLP's annual conference.
“I spoke to our US friends about the need to require greater identification for persons sending packages to Jamaica from the US,” the JLP leader said.
Holness said it was not only criminals overseas who were playing an active role in crime back home, but convicted persons are conducting extortion and murder from behind bars in Jamaica.
He told party supporters that the Government has designed a new high-security prison that has been contemplated for some time, but the plans and cost had not yet been finalised.
“I have given instructions that the high-security facility with a communications dead spot be built as a project of strategic national interest. We will have a prison with a communication dead spot where we can put our high-risk criminals. We can put them in facilities where they cannot influence crime and murders outside of the prison,” he told the audience.
The prime minister said, however, that if the persons charged with guarding these high-risk criminals became involved in collusion, the problems would persist.
Holness said that the Government will introduce a new corrections bill that will impose custodial penalties on correctional officers who facilitate communication between prisoners and their cronies outside the prison walls.
Turning his attention to the much-touted Enhanced Security Measures Bill, Holness said that the proposed statute was at an advanced stage of drafting and would be introduced for debate in Gordon House in the 2023-24 parliamentary year.
Declaring that the bill will be a state of emergency for criminals, Holness said that the proposed law will have provisions for a watch list for criminals.
It will have special orders for detention for criminals, he said, adding that the bill will also have the imposition of control orders on the activities of criminals.
“These will give the police standing powers to treat with some of our more dangerous and insidious criminals to ensure that we can bring order and peace to our society,” he said.