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Government Committed to Ongoing Strengthening of Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking



#Jamaica, November 16, 2021 – Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, says the Government is committed to continuously strengthening legislation to tackle the scourge of human trafficking in Jamaica.

“If we consider our history in trying to manage this global scourge, since 2007… many within the bureaucracy have worked tirelessly to ensure that we continue to make a more robust framework to deal with this issue,” Senator Samuda said.

He was speaking during Friday’s (November 12) sitting of the Senate while piloting the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) (Amendment) Act, 2021. The Bill was approved without amendment.

Senator Samuda said work has continued under successive Administrations “to ensure that we get on top of this scourge.”   He emphasised that this is crucial given Jamaica’s geographic location which places the country at risk of being exploited as a transit point and destination for human trafficking.

“Given the global and lucrative nature of human trafficking and its imminent threat to our people, the Government has taken the decision to proceed with amendments to the Act to remove the option of fines as a penalty for certain offences that are egregious in nature,” he said.

He noted that the Government is also looking to increase fines for the offence of threatening and obstructing a constable, from $250,000 to $1 million.

“Additionally, the amended Act creates a provision that empowers the Minister, by order subject to affirmative resolution, to make amendments to [the] monetary penalties,” Senator Samuda said.

He emphasised that the proposed amendments are timely as they reaffirm Jamaica’s commitment “to the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and the strategic priorities of the Government to criminalise trafficking in persons in all its forms, to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks involved in such crimes, and to forfeit their ill-gotten gains.”

“We will make these amendments and continue to strive for the rooting out of trafficking in persons, certainly within Jamaica, and playing our part in our region, not just because of international commitments, not just because it is a global scourge, but because of our own history and our own rejection of such crimes,” he further stated.

Senator Samuda noted that human trafficking is an “extremely lucrative” international crime which, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), generates approximately US$150 billion globally each year by preying on the vulnerable, including children, women, and marginalised persons.

“[Human trafficking] victims are subjected to unspeakable violations and harm. Fifty per cent of detected victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation, [and] 38 per cent were exploited for forced labour. Other victims are forced into marriage, begging, criminal acts, and armed combat,” he said.

Senator Samuda stressed that, universally, Administrations must reinforce legislation and policy parameters to combat the real and present threats posed by human trafficking, especially in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We must also acknowledge the urgency for these particular amendments when we contend with the [issue)] of COVID-19 and its economic effect making the most vulnerable within our society even more vulnerable to these threats,” he said.

The Senator told the Upper House that in February this year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that since the pandemic’s onset, the overall incidence human trafficking has worsened.  He said the agency further indicated that the number of children among the detected victims tripled, with the ratio of boys increasing five-fold over the past 15 years.

Senator Samuda pointed out that consequent on these scenarios, the proposed amendments to the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) (Amendment) Act, 2021 are based on the need to create an Anti-Human Trafficking regime that discourages and promulgates deterrence of the offenders and recidivists.

The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act was passed in 2007 and amended in 2013 to increase the penalties.

It was again amended in 2018 to enable a judge to try trafficking offences without a jury.

The 2021 amended Bill was passed in the Lower House on November 3 with two amendments.


Contact: Alecia Smith

Release: JIS


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TCI Sport delegation visits the Cayman Islands and Barbados with key sport leaders



TCI Sports Commission delegation traveled to the Cayman Islands and Barbados to visit with key Sport leaders. The TCI delegation included the Sports Commission Director, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, Deputy Director, Mr. Alvin Parker, and Facility Manager for Providenciales, Mr. Darian Forbes. The aim of the travel was to visit major facilities, with priorities being pool facilities, and discuss sport development strategies.

The team had the pleasure of being hosted by the Deputy Chief Officer for Sport, Dr. Dalton Walter, and the Director of Sports, Mr. Kurt Hyde in the Cayman Islands; who facilitated the facility tours and shared valuable information on Sports Development. Meetings were held with Deputy Chief Officer Ms. Joan West and Technical Director for the Cayman Islands Aquatics Sport Association, Mr. Jacky Pellerin, on the Cayman Islands’ new 50-meter and 25 meter 10 lanes Mrytha pool facility, as well as with Ms. Shakeina Bush from the National Olympic Office on National Federation development and funding opportunities. The Sports Commission delegation was also grateful for the courtesy call with the Minister of Sport for the Cayman Islands, Hon. Isaac Rankine, and the Chief Officer Ms. Teresa Echenique.

During the Barbados leg of the exploratory travel, the Sports Commission team was hosted by the Director of the National Sports Council, Mr. Neil Murrell, and the Assistant Director of Sports, Mr. Ryan Toppin. The TCI team toured the National Sport Council facilities and visited the Barbados National Olympic Association. Significant to the TCI’s plan to develop an aquatic center, the TCI Sports Commission visited the Barbados Aquatic Sport Association and met with former National Olympic Academy Director, Mr. Dave Farmer, and the President and Second Vice President of the Barbados Swim Association, Mr. Robert Armstrong and Mr. Nicholas Mathis. Insights were shared regarding swimming pool design, development and maintenance as well as pool programming strategies to ensure the growth and sustainability of swimming in the islands.

The TCI delegation also visited other stadium facilities such as Track and Field, Football and Cricket, and other major facilities in Basketball and Boxing. The TCI Sport Commission officials had great discussions with both the Cayman Islands and Barbados sports officials surrounding the development of coaches, athlete development pathways, and strengthening relationships with National Sport Governing Bodies.

Director of Sports, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, said, “We were very grateful for the hospitality and support extended by our Caribbean colleagues. Their support affirmed the commitment and unity among the Caribbean community to develop sports in the region.”

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SIDS drowning in debt as sea levels rise



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


June 7, 2024 – United Nations (UN) Secretary General, His Excellency Antonio Guterres has said that international financing is the “fuel for sustainable development” but small island States are running low on the funding.

Addressing  day two of the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS24), in Caribbean twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, the Secretary General said while financing is low, the countries are drowning in debt and rising sea levs due to Climate Change.

“You are leading by example, but too often you are facing closed doors, from institutions and, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic and other global happenings have negatively impacted vulnerable economies, and “battered by a Climate catastrophe they did not create”, he told the gathering.

The SIDS countries are paying more to service their own debt than they invest in healthcare and education, the UN chief warned, leaving the nations unable to make the investments they need to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Many of the States are classified as middle-income, shutting them out of the debt support reserved for the poorest nations, the UN Chief argued that vital actions are needed from international financial institutions, in addition to an immediate SDG stimulus for the SIDS nations.

He outlined that the debt burden should be relieved, by providing access to effective relief mechanisms, including pauses in payments during times of economic volatility, while also transforming lending practices by changing the rules on concessional finance to lower borrowing costs. “You cannot finance education and health with 15-year loans. Let us make SIDS a real priority in everything we do,” he said.

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley said there was simply no political will on the part of the developed world to make the financial system work fairly,  as she enquired  how many  of those leaders have turned up in Antigua. “We are not seen”, she said, adding that “we continue to be serfs” when it comes to the power imbalance.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are in the crossfires of multiple crises: Climate Change, the economic and social repercussions of COVID-19, and a crisis of debt. The pandemic hugely impacted all island nations, especially those dependent on tourism. Global lockdowns left large holes in islands’ coffers and severely set back efforts to invest in the SDGs.

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Transcultura lauded at SIDS gathering, wins Partnership Awards 2024



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


June 7, 2024 – The United Nations (UN) programme, Transcultura, which seeks to integrate Caribbean, and the European Union through Culture and Creativity, has been selected to receive the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Partnerships Awards 2024.

Operate under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is the largest programme in Latin American and the Caribbean, and is a four-year initiative for young cultural professionals, artists, and entrepreneurs from 17 Caribbean countries.

Implemented in three languages, it provides them with opportunities for their future, in the region and in Europe, through training, support to entrepreneurship, networking and mobility programmes. With 15 million euros (16.5 million US dollars) provided by the European Union (EU), Transcultura is also the most significant EU investment in culture in the region.

In four years, over 1,600 young people from 17 Caribbean SIDS have benefited from the programme, with more than 50% being women. Through a combination of in-person and online courses, 600 cultural professionals have been trained. It has also facilitated cooperative cultural exchanges involving over 200 organisations from the Caribbean and the European EU. 

The programme resulted in the establishment of the Caribbean Cultural Training Hub, which fostered synergies between key educational institutions in the region. The award’s jury recognised the transformative impact of the Transcultura programme, empowering young people in the region to become agents of change and development in their communities through culture and creativity.

It was established by UN Member States in 2021 to recognise the efforts of the best and most notable partnerships in the implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (SAMOA Pathway). The goal is to inspire others to embark on such partnerships with SIDS.

Transcultura programme leverages the rich cultural diversity of the Caribbean as a driving force of sustainable development through cooperation and exchange within the Caribbean and between the Caribbean and the EU. It aims to create professional opportunities for young people in the Cultural and Creative Industries.

Beneficiary countries are: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

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