PM assures Diaspora of significant investment in national security

Monday, June 17, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness is assuring Jamaicans living abroad that the Government is taking national security seriously, with significant investments made over the last two years to strengthen the country's security architecture.

He noted that this year alone, the Government is spending close to $20 billion, which is “the highest that has ever been spent on national security in Jamaica”.

The prime minister, who was addressing the opening ceremony for the eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last evening, said that security is being prioritised in order to ensure that the country can effectively respond to the challenges of the modern world.

“We… have to be able to secure ourselves, not just from the conventional threats, but from the new and emerging threats, for example, in the cyber domain,” he said.

The prime minister said that the country also has to be able to protect its borders, especially in light of transborder illicit activities such as trade in guns, drugs, human trafficking and others.

These activities, he pointed out, foster the growth of criminal gangs.

The prime minister noted that the Government has put in place 'Plan Secure Jamaica', which he noted “is working very well”.

He said that the plan not only focuses on crime but securing the country's banks, ports, telecommunications, tourism, new logistics operations, the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, among other areas.

Meanwhile, the prime minister implored members of the Jamaica Diaspora to use their influence to help in addressing crime and violence in the country.

He said nationals living overseas could be particularly useful in encouraging their relatives in Jamaica to support the work of the police.

“There has to be a genuine confrontation about supporting law enforcement, providing information to law enforcement and allowing law enforcement to do their work and supporting them in their work…I believe the Diaspora can have a very powerful influence in that conversation, in that call back home,” he said.

The Diaspora Conference, which continues today at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, is being hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade under the theme 'Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development'.

This staging will target expanding and building pathways for the Diaspora and Jamaica to work together to prepare effectively for the future within the context of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which incorporate the core goals of the Vision 2030 National Development Plan.

The focal areas for dialogue, as well as the expected outcomes of the conference, take into consideration important global trends and their impact on the future marketplace and the workplace as well as critical Jamaica-Diaspora partnerships.

The conference concludes on Thursday.


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