Sunday 19 January, 2020

Continued US support for Jamaica’s security forces - Tillerson

Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) addresses journalists while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson looks on in a joint news conference at Jamaica House on Wednesday.

Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) addresses journalists while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson looks on in a joint news conference at Jamaica House on Wednesday.

The United States has said it will continue to support Jamaica’s security forces in their fight against crime. The assurance was given on Wednesday by that country’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

It comes at a time when the Jamaican security forces are grappling with an alarming murder rate that saw 1,616 people being killed in 2017 and more than 160 since the start of 2018, as well as the flow of guns into the country from the United States and Haiti.

On Wednesday, Tillerson commended the Jamaican Government for the work it has done in tackling the lottery scam that has bilked mainly elderly Americans out of millions of dollars.

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“We appreciate that the Government of Jamaica has made important progress combatting the lotto scams…cooperating closely with US authorities to extradite suspected lottery scammers to the United States, and establishing a bi-lateral lottery scam taskforce and we welcome that,” Tillerson said.

He added that “the United States will continue to support Jamaica’s security forces and criminal justice system (as) it is in both of our country’s interest to work together to investigate crimes, share intelligence, conduct asset seizure where (it’s­) legally appropriate to do so and bolster existing anti-corruption and anti-gang programmes.”

Tillerson was speaking during a media briefing at Jamaica House which he jointly hosted with Prime Minister Andrew Holness, following bilateral talks between the two men.

The Secretary of State was in Jamaica on an official state visit that lasted a few hours, at the back-end of a five country trip through Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

He also visited Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

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