Jamaica observes US help to prevent ‘foreign dons’ piloting murders locally

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Jamaica is eyeing “foreign dons” who continue to orchestrate murders in the Caribbean island despite being overseas, as one of the measures to curb crime locally.

Speaking at the Jamaica Labour Party’s 79th Annual Conference at the National Arena on Sunday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in calling on the Opposition to support an extension of the recently declared state of emergency, said the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration is not solely relying on emergency powers to control murders.

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The Government, he said, is also looking to close “several loopholes” in the country’s systems.

“We have been engaging with our US counterparts in discussions on further measures that could be taken to stem the flow of illegal guns into Jamaica. 

The discussions are focused on greater security measures at our ports… including securing more scanners,” said Holness, who added that the need to require greater identification for people sending packages to Jamaica from the US has also been discussed.

“We will also be opening discussions with our US friends to have special operations to target Jamaican dons overseas who are using their resources and influence to solicit and direct murders here in Jamaica,” the prime minister said.

He insisted that, for too long, “foreign dons” have been able to get away with this and that is Administration is going to ensure that they can no longer stay in another country and “direct crime” in Jamaica.

He said:

Personally, I think that it is a shame that someone who got the opportunity to migrate would use the opportunity to seek to make their community a living hell for the people they have left behind instead of sending back computers and assisting with school fees, they 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.

The United States Ambassador to Jamaica Nick Perry was among the guests at the National Arena on Sunday, as the prime minister vowed to put a stop to it.

Turning his attention closer to home, he said criminals overseas are not the only ones “remotely programming crimes and murders locally”.

“In our local prisons, criminals are conducting extortion operations and directing murders right out of our prisons,” Holness said.

He said he has instructed that a high-security prison with a “communication dead spot”, which has been on the books for some time, be built as a project of strategic national interest.

“This means that 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 facilities,” he said while admitting that technology can only guarantee security to a point.

In the video, Prime Minister Andrew Holness outlines some of the legislation to help curb crime in the country at the JLP’s 79th Annual Conference at the National Arena in Kingston on November 20, 2022.

Among the measures to address crime, the prime minister said there are plans for a new Corrections Bill that will speak to “stiffer custodial penalties” for people charged with securing criminals and preventing them from having access to the outside world but are facilitating the criminals in the prison.

He also pointed to the new Firearms Act and legislation that is to come, such as a new Bail Act and the Enhanced Security Measures Bill, which the Government intends to have before Parliament in the next fiscal year.

Pointing out that his Administration has never accepted as normal the murder rate of over a thousand people each year in a free and democratic society, Holness outlined the crime plan during the conference on Sunday.

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