The Government says it has begun a review of the protocols and operational procedures under Ship Rider Agreement, with the US

by January 15th, 2021

The Government says it has begun a review of the protocols and operational procedures under the controversial Ship Rider Agreement, with the United States.

 

The declaration comes on the heels of the alleged unlawful detention and mistreatment of four Jamaican fishermen, who despite being freed from allegations of possession of contraband on their boat, the Lady Lawla, were held by the United States.

 

The men were freed by a U.S court after it was revealed that the substance found on their boat was not liquid cocaine but in fact gasoline.

 

The court had ordered that the men be released, however, lawyers for the men allege that they were held in the custody of immigration for several weeks.

 

Addressing the matter at this morning’s sitting of the Senate, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith defended the actions of Government, as it relates to getting the men released, stating that the Ministry took immediate action once it was learnt from the media on December 28, that the charges against the men were dropped on December 15.

 

 

 

Noting that the developments surrounding the fishermen have again made the Ship Rider Agreement a subject of interest, Mrs. Johnson Smith said the Agreement remains important to fighting against guns and drug trafficking.

 

She acknowledged, however, that it is important to ensure that any legal action undertaken by the U.S under the Ship Rider Agreement, is accompanied by action that protects the human rights, and consular needs of Jamaican nationals.

 

 

She noted that authorities of the United States offered an apology for the handling of the Lady Lawla case.

 

She added that the United States has two to three weeks to offer a response to suggestions made, and questions raised by the Jamaican Government, during the January 6 stakeholder meeting.