In a crucial initiative to combat the escalating threat of organized crime, the 2nd annual National Security Seminar was held on Wednesday, February 7, at the AC Hotel in Kingston.
Organised by the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), this important gathering convened under the theme, “Organised Violence and the Threat to Peace in Jamaica and the Region,” drawing more than 100 experts from the realms of security and law enforcement to deliberate on strengthening international collaborations and security measures.
Delivering the Keynote address, Prime Minister The Most Hon. Andrew Holness underscored the imperative to reconceptualize crime and violence as a national security dilemma, not merely a local disturbance. “We must change legislation to create an understanding that crime and violence are a national security issue, not just a street-level problem,” he emphasized, highlighting the seminar’s objective to amalgamate diverse perspectives from policy experts and thinkers for a deeper comprehension of the issues at stake.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang, articulated the collective resolve required to fortify Jamaica’s future. “We must work together to strengthen our law enforcement mechanisms and foster greater cooperation to secure a more peaceful and prosperous future for Jamaica,” He said, echoing the seminar’s dedication to enhancing law enforcement and security collaboration both locally and internationally.
Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, provided insights into Jamaica’s specific challenges and responses to organized violence. Detailing strategies such as the introduction and amendment of legislation, bolstering of the security sector, reforms in the criminal justice system, and the development of multi-sectoral citizen security plans, Anderson underscored the essence of collaboration. “We are in a highly collaborative environment. We are getting better at collaborating, and it’s becoming more and more recognized that in the absence of that, it just doesn’t work,” he reflected, emphasizing the significance of local, regional, and international partnerships in combating crime effectively.
The seminar also benefited from the expertise of respected figures in international, including Mr. Michael Ben’Ary, Associate Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; Mr. Arun Rao, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice; and Dr. Paul Angelo, Director of the William Perry Centre for Hemispheric Defense Studies, USA. Their participation underscored the global dimension of the security challenges faced by Jamaica and the critical role of international cooperation in addressing these issues.
This convergence of local and international minds underscored a united front against the spectre of organized crime, marking a pivotal step toward safeguarding Jamaica’s societal fabric. The seminar’s discussions and outcomes reflect a deepening commitment to collaborative efforts, essential for paving the way toward a safer, more secure Jamaica.