Jamaica is the Caribbean’s largest source of marijuana for the United States and a transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America. Jamaica suffers from one of the highest murder rates in the region. In 2009 violent crime rates increased to civil war levels, with homicides at 64/100,000 ratio. The vast majority of the violent crimes in Jamaica are perpetrated by gang members, who use the drug trade to secure weapons which are smuggled mainly from the United States. Increasing organized crime permeates both the legitimate business sector as well as the political sector, undermines the Government of Jamaica’s (GOJ) ability to maintain law and order and threatens international security. Jamaica’s inadequate police and judicial systems serve as the primary shortcomings in addressing both corruption and crime; they lack the capacity to timely investigate and adjudicate crime.
While cooperation between Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and U.S. Government (USG) law enforcement agencies has traditionally been strong, delays in proceeding with the significant extradition request for a major alleged narcotics and firearms trafficker who is reported to have ties to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, and subsequent delays in other extradition requests, have called into question Kingston’s commitment to law enforcement cooperation with the U.S.
The U.S. supports counternarcotics and law enforcement projects in Jamaica that enhance the capacity of Jamaican law enforcement agencies to reduce the trafficking of illicit narcotics through Jamaica. U.S. assistance programs support modernization and professionalization of the Jamaican Constabulary Force (JCF) by providing training, equipment and technical assistance so that the JCF will improve its ability to intercept shipments, detain traffickers and investigate, arrest and prosecute organized crime cases. The U.S. also supports anti-corruption efforts to counter the corrosive influence of narcotics trafficking and money laundering, and to promote the rule of law and democratic governance.