schemes, which are largely controlled by organized criminal groups (US Department of
Indeed, there are dozens of violent gangs in Jamaica. Most are responsible for the drug
trade and fraud scams that generate colossalillicit proﬁts. These organized criminals invoke
money laundering and corruptionas a means of insulating themselves and their money from
law enforcement. Further, many of these gangs use violence as a way of protecting their
The result is that Jamaica has been classiﬁed as a “major money laundering country”
whose “ﬁnancial institutionsengage in currency transactions involving signiﬁcant amounts
of proceeds from international narcotics trafﬁcking”(US Department of State, 2018a).
Jamaica was also ranked 70 out of 180 countries listed on Transparency International’s
Corruption Perception Index (CPI) (Transparency International, 2017). In fact, overthe past
decade, Jamaica has consistently registered low scores on the CPI, “leaning towards the
‘highly corrupt’end of the spectrum and giving credence to the notion that corruption is
indeed a serious problem.”(Caribbean Policy Research Unit (CAPRI), 2017). Perhaps the
most disturbing statistic is that Jamaica has one of the highest per capita homiciderates in
the region (US Departmentof State, 2018a).
In recognition of the connectionbetween violence, corruption and money laundering, the
National Security Policy of Jamaica categorizes money laundering and corruption as Tier1
threats. This means that these offences represent high-impact, high-probability threats that
are clear and present dangers to the state, its economy, its integrity and the lives of its
citizens. These top priority threats require an active response and, thus, Key Action #1 on
the National Security Policy is “Remove the Proﬁt from Crime”(Government of Jamaica,
The following part of the article will examine some of the challenges that may be
encountered in the criminaljustice system when seeking to take the proﬁt out of crime.
Part I: conventional justice
Deﬁning justice. “We want justice!”
“Wi waan justice!”
No matter how it is said, the phrase resonates –in the streets, in the media, in Jamaica
and across the world –but what do people reallywant? In other words, what is this “justice”
that we all cry for?
The generic or dictionary deﬁnition of justice revealsthat it is simply the state of being
fair and reasonable. However, this objective terminology assumes many different,
sometimes subjective,meanings, depending on who is pleading for justice.
For some, it may be the desire to be treated equitably before the courts; for others it is a
quest for unbiased conduct by the police. Yet still, many view justice on a broader scale to
embrace the responsibility of the state to ensureconsistent and equal application of its rules
and procedures to all citizens, so as to exclude intrinsically unfair or unjust practices, such
Justice is not one-sidedand, as such, victims of crime require justice in the sameway that
accused persons require fair treatment beforethe law. In the current dispensation, one may
ask, how much justice is achievedin the context of countering ﬁnancial crime?
The criminal justice system is fraught with a number of problems, which can occur at
every stage of the process. Such issues may arise pre-trial,during the trial or even post-trial.
Many of the challenges relate to delays and mismanagement,often resulting in injustice.
At the pre-trial stage, a prosecution may be compromised by deﬁciencies in police
investigations, lengthy delays pending trial, improper pre-trial detention practices and the