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Jamaica: Govt to sign anti-crime pacts with Cuba

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s top security official announced Tuesday that he will lead a delegation to Cuba this week to sign agreements strengthening cooperation against drug trafficking and other crimes.

Security Minister Dwight Nelson said the pacts are intended to increase intelligence sharing about the “movement of guns and drugs and the groups involved in their movement between the two countries.”

Jamaica is the Caribbean’s largest source of marijuana for the U.S. and a transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe. The island’s gun-smuggling networks are also a long-standing security concern.

Nelson said that, although the two Caribbean neighbors have collaborated since 2006 in tracking and capturing Jamaican traffickers, a formal relationship is likely to improve the flow of information.

A leaked U.S. diplomatic memo released by WikiLeaks late last year portrayed Jamaican anti-drug officers as being so unresponsive that more than a dozen Cuban officials privately vented their frustrations to a U.S. drug enforcer in 2009.

After the leaked August 2009 communique made headlines in December, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said his government had shaken up an anti-drug police unit following Cuban complaints that the force had been uncooperative in stopping Jamaican smugglers using speedboats and small planes to move narcotics.

Since then, the prime minister said, “no concern has been expressed by officials of the Cuban government.”