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KU law expert returns to Jamaica to help against terror related activites

By Chanel Buituron Dec 3, 2017
Photo: KU - Law and crime expert Dr Gauri Sinha

A Kingston University UN law expert has returned to Jamaica to advise the government on how to crack down on terror-related activities.

The Jamaican Government has sought out the expertise of Dr Gauri Sinha for the second time to advise ministers on implementing measures to prevent financing of terrorism.

Dr Sinha trip follows her initial visit to the Caribbean island in 2016, where she helped shape the nation’s legislation to strengthen the country’s laws on financial sanctions.

In her first trip in 2016, more than 10 official recommendations were made to ministry officials during the workshop, this included representatives of global non-profit organisations. Her recommendations received widespread approval from officials that attended the workshop.

Following the success of her first trip, the law lecturer and financial crime expert spent three days forensically scrutinizing Jamaica’s current laws before producing 17 official recommendations for ministry officials to examine.

There is an ongoing threat of gang violence, murder and sexual assault in Jamaica but drug exportation is far more dangerous and remains a huge business. Jamaica has the fifth highest national homicide rate in the world.

She said: “It was great to be in direct contact with a government and be able to contribute amending laws. I can use this experience whilst teaching students, by sharing with them a practical example from which they can understand the intricacies of the law.”

She was invited to advise ministers on measures to enable the country to comply with the United Nations (UN) and to protect against money laundering, financing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The U.S department of state assessed Kingston, Jamaica, as being a medium threat location for terrorist activity. Jamaica also has a drugs-for-guns trade that still exists with Haiti.

Dr Sinha was headhunted by a non-profit organisation to assist the Jamaican Government, she has a wealth of experience in the field of international financial crime laws. She was formerly a financial crime consultant and practising barrister with a PhD in anti-money laundering and worked as a consultant with global firms.

She said: “It was great to be in direct contact with a government and contribute to amending laws. I enjoy being part of the lawmaking process, I love teaching my students and being able to describe from first-hand experience knowing the theories they learn can be applied in a practical setting is very fulfilling.”

Her job was to provide the Government with a framework to raise flags in order to prevent terrorist financing and weapons of mass destruction. The UN’s strict regulations were related to this and Jamaica amended its laws to comply accordingly.

Dr Sinha drew laws from several countries including the UK, Australia and Canada as examples for government officials to consider when making amendments to Jamaica’s laws.

Dr Sinha, said: “This latest trip was an extension of the previous trip initially I shared an advisory session with key ministers and stakeholders. However, this time I was given greater independence in order to produce recommendations.”

She stated that it is an essential element of practising law she hopes to instil this into all of KU’s future lawyers and lawmakers.

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