KINGSTON, Jamaica, Fri. Dec. 17, 2010: Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding is defending a WikiLeaks cable that claimed the Cuba authorities were frustrated with the response of Jamaica officials to drug smuggling.
The PM said in a statement Thursday that while an investigation by his Minister of National Security confirmed that the 2009 concern by the Cuban Ministry of the Interior was correct, the unit has since been reorganized and renamed the Transnational Crime Narcotics Division. He added the officer who headed the unit at the time has since been replaced.
Golding, in the statement, said that since then, `there has been full and active cooperation between Jamaica and Cuba on counter-narcotics surveillance and interdiction and no concern has been expressed by officials of the Cuban government.`
He added that the new level of cooperation has since assisted in the conviction of a number of persons on charges of drug trafficking and that officers from the Transnational Crime Narcotics Division and other security forces personnel have made a number of visits to Cuba, the most recent being less than a month ago, to confer with Cuban authorities on ongoing efforts to combat drug trafficking and measures to strengthen cooperation between Jamaica and Cuba.
`These include greater interface among high level officers of both countries involved in counter narcotics, intelligence sharing and interdiction operations,` the statement added.
According to the cable, Cuban Ministry of Interior (MININT) officials on multiple occasions contend that narcotics smugglers from Jamaica were utilizing both Cuban airspace and waters to transport narcotics ultimately destined for the United States, but their repeated attempts to engage Jamaica on the issue had been ignored.
`A prevailing concern and significant frustration on the Cuban side is the reportedly complete lack of cooperation afforded them by the GOJ when it comes to CD information sharing,` the cable states, citing conversations between the U.S. Coast Guard Drug Interdiction Specialists and `no fewer than 15 Cuban MININT officers whose primary missions/roles are drug interdiction or support to drug interdiction.`
`Collectively and continually, they express frustration over the GOJ`s consistent ignoring of Cuban attempts to increase the flow of drug-related information between the two island nations to increase interdictions and avoid `being surprised by drugs,` added the document.
The Cuban officials also reportedly claimed that narco-related information on go-fasts and aircraft transiting to/from Jamaica in the vicinity of Cuba was passed to the government of Jamaica in English but `GOJ officials still do not respond.`
`MININT officers mention that Jamaican officials commonly agree to greater information sharing in person; however, that is the extent of their efforts,` stated the cable.