MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of National Security Peter Bunting says he is fearful that Jamaica’s image will be further tainted overseas after the airing of a 60 Minutes documentary on the lottery scam, now being produced by Dan Rather, a former CBS news anchor.
“Now this is one of the best-known names in television journalism and the reason they were drawn to come to Jamaica is not a positive one. He and his camera crew did not come here and ask to see some of the nice resort areas such as Doctor's Cave Beach... He wanted to see some of the areas the scam is going on, see a police station. That is not the positive side we have to present in Jamaica,” Bunting bemoaned.
Rather, a popular American journalist, and his camera crew arrived in the resort city of Montego Bay early last week to do the documentary. It is not clear when it will be aired.
Bunting said, however, that having met with Rather on Thursday, he is hopeful that the journalist will provide a balanced account, which will include Government’s sustained efforts to crush the illegal sweepstakes.
The national security minister, who was addressing members of the St James Police Civic Committee at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay on Thursday, highlighted some of the measures that his administration has taken to deal with the worrying racket.
Among them, he said, is the formation of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA), headed by Assistant Commission of Police Carl Williams.
“This is a well-resourced unit, led by one of our most experienced senior officers, and among the clear and present dangers they have to address is the lotto scam,” Bunting stressed.
He also cited the Evidence Special Measures (Fraudulent Transactions) Act — expected to be passed by the end of next month — which will allow victims to give evidence in court using an audio/video link. This, he said, will “specifically deal with advance fee fraud and lottery scam-related issues”.
“So we are now anticipating that as soon as the Bill is passed that will strengthen the arsenal, the tool box that the police have to go after these scammers and to go after their illicit assets,” Bunting explained.