(Jamaica Gleaner) The United States government is refusing to comment on reports that extradition requests are coming for several Jamaicans involved in organised crime.
Reports have long surfaced about a list of prominent Jamaicans the US wants extradited but a senior State Department official refused to comment on the issue.
Julissa Reynoso, the United States deputy assistant secretary in charge of Western Hemisphere Affairs, stayed away from the extradition issue even as she promised additional support from the US for Jamaica to capture these drug lords.
“I’m not answering that,” quipped Reynoso in response to questions on whether more extradition requests are coming.
Reynoso was speaking with a select group of journalists last week as she concluded a short visit to Jamaica.
According to Reynoso, the drug lords and crime bosses are known and the US is prepared to provide Jamaica with any assistance it needs, including sending American experts to the island.
“Broadly speaking, we know that there are individuals and organised crime elements here that need to be brought to justice … and that’s one of the reasons why we are here, to provide extra support to the agencies that are mandated to ensure that those individuals are brought to justice in the proper way,” said Reynoso.
Reynoso noted that security remains a major issue of concern for the two governments and declared the US commitment to help Jamaica in this area.
“We are committing to send additional support in terms of personnel from the Department of Justice and Treasury to work on more complex crimes, primarily organised crimes and specifically at the request of the finance ministry.”
She said the US authorities will pay close attention to financial crimes and the issue of the seizure of the assets of criminals.
That is in line with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative introduced by US President Barack Obama in 2010.
“The objective is to send prosecutors to work with the respective ministries to build capacity in those ministries and to help those ministries prosecute and bring to final justice those that commit crimes, so we will be sending experts down to Jamaica,” said Reynoso.
It has not yet been determined how many experts the US would send to Jamaica, but Reynoso said that Americans would be coming while additional technical support would be provided.
“There are needs that are particular yet are very targeted (for) sectors that the (Jamaican) Government deems that they do not, at this point, have sufficient resources capacity to engage in and we think that based on our experience throughout the Western Hemisphere … we can bring capacity and help the relevant authorities do more.”
Reynoso was in Jamaica as part of a team which included other officials of the US State Department, Justice Department, Treasury and United States Agency for International Development.
The visit followed a request by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for additional assistance from America.
During the visit, the team met with officials of a number of ministries, including finance, national security and education.
Those talks are expected to continue over the next weeks and months.