The worst thing a country wants to be implicated in is the crimes and alleged crimes of a few criminals. We have heard of the Jamaican Posse in New York decades ago, the Jamaican criminals in England in recent history, the high murder rate in Jamaica. Now Jamaica is in the news again and this time the blow could be long-lasting. This time it’s the “Jamaican Lottery Scams”.
Jamaican Lottery Scams?
What are these so-called Jamaican Lottery Scams? An expose on CBS TV in the United States (can be viewed at http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57573750/inside-the-jamaican-lottery-scam-how-u.s-seniors-become-targets/) illuminated how a few criminals in Jamaica picked up and adapted the so-called Nigerian Scam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigerian_scam) in order to defraud people of their money, or as Mr @csharpe puts it, “to separate people from their money“.
These scams work in the following way:
1. Criminal in Jamaica (allegedly many of these criminals are from Western Jamaica) obtains a list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of elderly people from USA by whatever means.
2. Criminal then calls the elderly persons in the USA pretending to be with a sweepstakes company within the USA.
3. Criminal tells elderly persons they’ve won money.
4. Criminals tell the elderly that in order to get the prize, the person just has to pay a fee, which they are told is for processing, or taxes.
One elderly woman of 79 years reported that she was scammed out of $30,000 USD over a 7-month period.
The Plagues The Criminals have brought on Jamaica
We have seen the Cash Plus ponzi scheme and other schemes/ scams over the years in Jamaica that many people overseas were indifferent to. However, when violence erupts or murder rate increases in tourist destinations, large countries like the United States does pay attention and does report it to their citizens. Now that citizens have been defrauded by a few criminals, the entire Jamaica suffers the consequences. Why? This story is going out and around like wild fire. Not only that but United States senators have made comments about Jamaica’s main source of income, TOURISM.
According to these US officials, Jamaica should spend as much money on stopping these criminals from defrauding it’s citizens and other crimes as it does on trying to get US citizens to Jamaican shores, boosting Jamaican tourism. In fact they had $$$ figures about how much US citizens add to Jamaican tourism.
The Good Must Suffer for the Bad
We live in a world where, if you don’t have the handle of the knife you have the blade. If you have the blade, the good must suffer for the bad, even if the bad represents a fraction of a fraction of a percentage.
Let’s face it. The crimes perpetrated by these criminals are heinous, despicable, and certainly not condoned by law-biding citizens like me. However, what steps does Jamaica take to eliminate this sort of thing? Obviously, the United States wants the perpetrators extradited. That extradition law has been the source of polarizing views in Jamaica and the Caribbean over the past few years in particular.
The feeling on one side is that the extradition law is one-sided, favoring the large countries like the USA. However, the other side feels like if Jamaican citizens are committing crimes on foreign soil or against foreigners, they should be extradited and dealt with by the authorities of that foreign country.
Either way, that’s not the main point. The main point is that the reputation of the country gets dragged down the gutter by these unscrupulous criminals who are only in it for themselves and do not think about what it does to their community, parish, and country.
One comment on a prominent Caribbean newspaper’s web site was from one identifying him/herself as “Voice of Reason” who basically flipped the script on the US officials, saying:
“Whilst I think scammers should feel the full force of the law and be made to pay for their crimes. I would also like the USA to do something about the guns from their country which make their way onto our shores, I do not think they are doing enough about that. Whilst their priority is rightly to protect their citizens my priority is to protect the sovereignty of Jamaica and is citizens from falling victim to American bullets. One hand should wash the other!!!”
A response on the same site was from an individual with the initials C.E who retorted:
Straying from the topic? This topic is not about ‘fair and balanced’. In a nut-shell, we must find these criminal fraudsters, extortioners, identity thieves, and extradite them through our Courts. The U.S. is our (Jamaica) bread and butter, so we must cut the rhetoric and act expeditiously.
I agree with C.E. First we should act quickly to bring these criminals to justice. Have them repay every penny they have stolen. If they cannot then face the consequences. Then, after cleaning up and dissuading other criminals from following suit, we can talk about the gun problem which has been a problem in Jamaica for decades and decades.
What do you think? Talk to me nuh.