#Jamaica, June 17, 2022 – During 2021, a total of 34,832kgs of marijuana and 1,226kgs of cocaine were seized by the police, according to data from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). These seizures occurred inland, at the airports, and at controlled and uncontrolled seaports.
The disclosure was made by National Security Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, at the opening of the Organization of American States (OAS): Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) training workshop on monitoring, and evaluation of national drug policies, strategies and plans, on June 15, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.
Dr. Chang said implementation of several key mechanisms and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders resulted in the seizures.
These include the establishment of Special Investigative Units by the Narcotics Division, aimed at disrupting and dismantling narcotics organizations related to the drugs flow between Jamaica and the drug consumer countries.
Also, the review and amendment of legislation critical to anti-drug efforts has had a significant impact on the influx of illicit drugs into the country, including the enhancement and strengthening of Jamaica’s Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism legal framework and information/data sharing mechanisms available to law-enforcement operatives.
In addition, there is an inter-agency collaboration for the collection of data used to analyse trends and intelligence for the identification and short-listing of suspects (anti-narcotics interdictions), which are done at sea. These are collaborative efforts between the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Marine Police of the JCF.
Another deterrent is the establishing and strengthening of measures for international and regional cooperation through the signing of international agreements and the enactment of legislation to provide an effective framework to facilitate the signing and implementation of these agreements.
“Reference is made to the steps being taken by Jamaica to amend its Maritime Drug Trafficking (Suppression) Act, 1998 (MDTSA) to facilitate the ratification of the Treaty of San José. The Treaty of San José represents a regional effort to tackle the issue of drug trafficking by air and sea through proactive law-enforcement cooperation,” the Minister said, emphasising that it is through the implementation of these mechanisms that Jamaica has been able to decrease the illicit supply of drugs that enter the country.
The responsibility to manage and implement supply reduction measures are tackled collaboratively through the JCF, the JDF, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), and the Port Security Corps, among others.
Over the years, Dr. Chang said efforts have centred around stakeholder coordination and international cooperation; investment in developing data-driven policies and practices; legislative reform; capacity building; acquisition of required equipment, tools and software; and implementation of alternative programmes have been prioritised.
The two-day training workshop (June 15 and 16) is being hosted by the Government of Jamaica, in collaboration with OAS/CICAD, with funding support from the Government of Canada.
It aims to support OAS member states in preparing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the national drug policy strategy or plan.
Contact: Rochelle Williams
Press Release: Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Bahamas
February 3, 2023 – ILM Bahamas Centre held its Certificate Presentation Ceremony for Cohort 7. The cohort consisted of fourteen (14) Senior Immigration Officers from the Department of Immigration. This Cohort was a hybrid of in-person and online learning. Four of the Immigration Officers were from the Family Islands (Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands and Eleuthera).
Present at the ceremony were: The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration, Madam Justice J. Denise Lewis-Johnson, Permanent Secretary Ms. Ceceila Strachan, Executive Chair of NTA Ms. Agatha Marcelle, Executive Director of NTA Mr. Terry Murray, Director of Immigration Mrs. Keturah Ferguson, Deputy Director of Immigration Mr. Dwight Beneby, Ms. Esther McKinney Office Manager at the Department of Immigration.
The guest speaker at the ceremony was Dr. Donald M. McCartney a Leadership and Management Consultant with Motivation Incorporated Bahamas and the United States. He was a former senior public servant. He was also a First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service with responsibility for the Northern Bahamas. He was also a former educator and professor at various colleges in the United States.
In his address to ILM Cohort 7, Dr. McCartney spoke about having the courage to lead and that leadership goes beyond SELF. It’s not about you or your ego but rather more about contributing to nation building. He said, “We must be prepared to take the bold steps that would not lead us into the abyss of despair but on the road that leads us to lift up our heads to the rising sun and press onward to the mountaintop experience, which will lead us to become the proud and productive people we were destine to be.” He also expanded on the four fundamental virtues: COURAGE, TEMPERANCE, JUSTICE AND WISDOM. Additionally, he expanded on the focus and influence of courage, on the ego and discipline.
The Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of Labour and Immigration brought brief remarks on the occasion. Some of the highlights of his speech were that Immigration is one of the highest revenue earners, challenges within the Department of Immigration such as lack of autonomy from the Public Service as compared to the other armed forces. He also talked about that the fact that the top tier is going to be retired within two years and this would be an opportunity for many of the graduates of this Cohort 7 to gain upward mobility.
He also stated that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Immigration Act, and a review of the Asylum Bill. Furthermore, he discussed the inevitable need for the relocation of the Department of Immigration from its current location. Lastly, he stated that we must tread a delicate balance between enforcing the law and being humane, in regards to shanty towns.
It is noteworthy that the ILM Centre at the National Training Agency recently obtained a Centre upgrade. The ILM Centre Bahamas now hold the statue of Direct Claim Status with City and Guilds of London. Additionally, the Centre is now registered with the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas (NAECOB) for all of its current course offerings. The ILM Department is lead Miss Pamela Gomez as the ILM Centre Coordinator. Registration is now open for Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skill and Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management. Our mission statement is, “Helping people, organizations, and economies develop their skills for growth.”
For more information, contact the ILM Centre Bahamas located in the Gladstone Road Business Centre by calling 461-6021 or 461-6008.
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
TCI Office in Bahamas identified
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.
Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.
The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others. Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.
The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.
When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.
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