Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | December 6, 2010
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Break the links
Professor Anthony Clayton - FILE

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

The re-emergence of Jamaica as a vibrant and secure state must be facilitated by the severing of the links that have been established between politics and organised crime.

That is the advice being proffered by Anthony Clayton, professor in the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

In a symposium on the Jamaica/Canada Transnational Crime titled 'Experiences in its Control and Prevention', Clayton notes that the 2010 World Economic Forum Competitive-ness Index showed Jamaica dropping to a dismal 95th of 132 nations surveyed.

He said this reflected a fall of 17 places over the past three years.

According to Clayton, on the same scale, Jamaica has dipped to 129th on economic stability.

Clayton argued that the direct cost of crime (killings, health costs as a result of injuries and other factors) reflected 3.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

He contended that the direct and indirect cost of crime and corruption amounted to 14 per cent.

Clayton lists the major items as higher cost of doing business, losses to theft and extortion, business closures, capital flight, emigration of skilled workers, forgone investment, misdirected public expenditure, overruns and poor value for money.

He argued that the true cost over the last four decades amounts to approximately 75 per cent of GDP.

Delegitimised state

Clayton contends that as a result of the links between politics and organised crime, the Foreign Policy Failed States Index for 2007 concluded that Jamaica's most serious weakness is the criminalisation and delegitimisation of the state.

He notes that Liberia, the 27th most fragile state in the world, had the same score on that indicator.

"When the state is weak or corrupt, organised and transnational crime will flourish," argued Clayton. "We must strengthen the state and sever the links."

With organised transnational crime devoid of borders, Clayton argued that international cooperation and intelligence sharing is crucial.

"We can only win the intelligence-led operations, multi-country, multi-hit strategy, focus forces on one entire organisation," he asserted.

As a first step to correcting the problems bedevilling Jamaica over the past four decades, Clayton said the Jamaica Constabulary Force must be fixed by improving the effectiveness and purging corrupt police personnel.

Clayton also spoke to the need for improved usage of Intel, network analysis, international cooperation; focus on dons and key figures in network to sever the links between organised crime and politics.


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