Chang rejects ‘Robin Hood’ view of lotto scamming Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A call is being made for Jamaicans to reject any assertion that lotto scamming is a sophisticated ‘Robin Hood’ enterprise, as it can have damaging effects on the island’s economy. 

The call was made by Deputy Prime Minister and National Security Minister, Dr Horace Chang, as he revealed that nearly 100 Jamaicans are wanted for extradition in relation to lotto scamming-related crimes.

Chang’s comments on the matter came a day after a video emerged with then People’s National Party (PNP) caretaker-candidate for North Trelawny, Dennis Meadows, saying he had no problem with “choppas”, a local term used for lotto scammers.

Further, Meadows was of the view that ‘chopping’ or scamming is a form of remuneration for slavery, an opinion which is similar to that of some lotto scammers who link their illicit practices to a form of ‘Robin Hood’-type endeavour. 

In cinematic productions, Robin Hood is often portrayed as a legendary heroic outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Meadows has since “unequivocally” withdrawn the comments he made.

Speaking at the Global Services Sector Association of Jamaica (GSAJ) President’s Breakfast Forum in Montego Bay, St James on Thursday, Chang said it is time for Jamaicans to stop viewing lotto scamming as a “Robin Hood” type of activity, as it damages the economy. 

“At this point, there’s some nearly 100 identifiable individuals for extradition,” Chang disclosed in reference to lotto scamming.

“The Government of Jamaica has no problem cooperating and working to mitigate, and hopefully, remove this particular scourge of criminal activity from our system, because they (the scammers) are a danger and a risk to our society,” he stated.

Despite the best efforts of law enforcement bodies, Chang said the techniques of lotto scammers are evolving, but investigators remain committed to nabbing those involved. 

To that end, he urged Jamaicans not to accommodate scamming, citing potential harm to the country’s economy. 

“Some people view this as some sort of Robin Hood activity, and an almost sort of unholy alliance of accommodation. There’s no room for accommodation, no room for compromise,” Chang declared.

“In addition to the murders of our citizens and extortion of honest people in North America, it (lotto scamming) damages the economic prospects for the country,” he noted.

If the country’s cyberspace is not defendable, effective, and has the appropriate response, Chang said “opportunities” will also be lost for the nation.

“There are those who will not want to place their business in Jamaica (as a result),” he suggested. 

Over the past decade, many Jamaicans have been extradited to the United States, where they have been prosecuted for their involvement in defrauding mostly elderly Americans.