Media Center

Press Release


  March 21, 2007

The problem of transnational organized crime in the Caribbean region is the focus of a seminar underway in Jamaica, organized by the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Jamaican government, with financial support from the government of Canada.

The seminar, held March 20-22 in Montego Bay, includes the participation of law enforcement and justice officials from all the English-speaking Caribbean countries, as well as Haiti and Suriname. Along with experts from the OAS Department of Public Security and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), the Caribbean participants will address four specific aspects of organized crime: drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms trafficking and gangs.

In his opening remarks, Peter Phillips, the Minister of National Security of Jamaica, stressed the internationalization of transnational organized crime, noting that the integration of the Caribbean is being accomplished more efficiently by organized criminals than by the states of the region. Minister Phillips said that “solutions cannot be found within the traditional definitions of sovereignty, as organized crime operates truly without national borders.”

“Greater cooperation within the region, with Europe and North America, and with international organizations is needed,” he added.

Ambassador Albert Ramdin, the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, highlighted the particular vulnerabilities of the Caribbean region, given its strategic location between one of the largest drug-producing and drug-consuming regions of the world. Noting that organized crime acts as a “catalyst” for other forms of violence and crime, Ramdin stressed that Caribbean states need to increase coordination and information-sharing to confront shared threats.

“The requirements of public security and the imperative of success in this endeavor call for a coordinated, multilateral approach to the application of resources by and among states and international organizations,” said Ramdin, who pledged OAS support in strengthening cooperation on this issue.

During today’s session, working groups will identify specific actions needed to combat drugs, arms, trafficking in persons and gangs. This information will serve as the basis for the development of OAS projects and programs to help address these threats over the next two years. Discussions will include legislation gaps, mechanisms of cooperation, public policies and other technical resources that may be needed by the region.

The seminar, along with similar events organized by the Department of Public Security, is being organized within the framework of the Hemispheric Plan of Action on Transnational Organized Crime, approved by the OAS Permanent Council in October 2006.

Reference: E-083/07