Jamaica’s Foreign Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, has expressed regret at aspects of statements that have emerged about the perceived background for some worrying crime developments in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).
In a statement on Friday, she said the Government of Jamaica has noted with concern, recent developments in the TCI relative to an upsurge in gang activities there.
Johnson Smith advised that in the broad spirit of cooperation which exists between Jamaica and the TCI, there have been engagements at various levels between the two states.
She added that Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, and TCI Premier, Charles Misick, have held discussions on the ongoing situation, including on the multi-national nature of gang-fuelled violence, something which also affects Jamaica.
Johnson Smith further shared that, “in the context and spirit of CARICOM solidarity, Jamaica, along with other members of the community in the Northern Caribbean, were asked to provide assistance within our individual capacity and expertise, and are examining ways in which to do so.”
However, she said “it is truly regrettable that, against information indicating that various nationalities have been and are involved in previous criminal activity and the recent upsurge, Jamaicans were singled out for blame.”
Johnson Smith went on to state that “Such statements are distinctly unhelpful”.
In concluding, the minister said: “Crime in our Caribbean societies affects us all and it is therefore our hope that there will be a speedy resolution to the current upsurge.
“We assure our nationals in the Turks and Caicos Islands of our concern and interest in the situation, and urge them to remain calm while they continue to exercise their usual responsible citizenship in the country.
“We also assure them that we have communicated their concerns to the government of the TCI, and are assured of their recognition of the value of our many law-abiding citizens who contribute positively to their society.”