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Foreign Affairs Ministry announces taskforce to protect returning residents

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade says it will be establishing a taskforce to address the safety and security concerns of returning residents seeking to live, work, and conduct business in Jamaica.

The move was announced following a meeting on Tuesday convened by Minister of State in the ministry Pearnel Charles Jr, who said the taskforce will be mandated to work closely with Customs, the security forces and other stakeholders.

According to a release from the ministry, the meeting was attended by senior officials from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the National Association of Returned Citizens, the Jamaica Association for Resettlement of Returned Residents, the British Jamaica Association, and staff of the Diaspora Affairs Department of the ministry.

The announcement from the ministry comes against the background of recent attacks on returning residents and the concerns expressed by the Diaspora.

The most recent attack is the June 22 murder of a British couple which sent shockwaves throughout the quiet farming community of Mount Pleasant in Portland.

The minister disclosed that the taskforce, which he will chair, will comprise members from the returning residents associations, the JCF and the ministry's Diaspora Affairs Department.

In the meantime, Senior Superintendent of Police, Karina Powell-Hood outlined that the JCF is to develop a standard operating procedure in addressing the concerns of returning residents.

She noted that the JCF currently has 19 community security officers in a measure aimed at increasing the safety and security of citizens, including those who are returning home.