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Report on the 4th IAP North American and Caribbean Regional Conference November 2-4, 2016, Montego Bay, Jamaica

1/20/2017

Prepared by Maxine Jackson, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Jamaica & Conference Chair

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jamaica, took on the mantle of hosting the 4th North American and Regional Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors Conference between November 2-4, 2016. This was, without a doubt, a momentous occasion for the Caribbean and the International Association of Prosecutors, as it was the first Conference of its kind to be held within the Caribbean since the establishment of the IAP in 1995, over 20 years ago. Significantly, being a first for the region, it was truly humbling to listen to and read the reviews of the participants and contributors who have all agreed that the Conference was a resounding success.

The attendance at the Conference was remarkable, with over 140 participants from 25 countries (representing the wider Caribbean Region, USA, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom and the continent of Africa). This was a testament to not only the importance of the selected topics, but also to the recognition that the theme, as a whole, “Prosecution and Governance in the 21st Century - Current and Future Challenges to Tackling Cybercrime and Organised Financial Crimes” is reflective of the current issues facing the region in respect of this type of transnational crime and its effects on the global community. Over the last decade, the nature and scope of transnational crimes have changed significantly with the increased use of technology. It was made clear that in order to survive as a region, there is urgent need for us to recommit and to establish cooperative relations, especially with the revival of the Caribbean Association of Prosecutors. Sirah Abraham, Criminal Justice Advisor to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, was very much attuned to this reality, when she invited 35 prosecutors and law enforcement officers from Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to particpated in the Conference.

Paula Llewellyn, QC, Director of Public Prosecutions and IAP Acting Secretary General Han Moraal, in their opening addresses alluded to the benefits of member states and prosecutors becoming active members of the International Association of Prosecutors and other Regional Associations. The call was clearly heeded as by the end of the Conference, over 60 prosecutors were registered as new members. This represents yet another milestone in the history of the Association.

The global community has changed significantly with technology being at the forefront of our means to survive and communicate. It is therefore no coincidence that the premise on which this global network of prosecutors is based makes it imperative that collaboration is of urgent necessity in the 21st century. The need to strengthen this collaboration also had the highest approval of the Minister of Justice, The Honourable Mr. Delroy Chuck, QC and the Chief Justice of Jamaica, The Honourable Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, OJ, who were both in attendance for the duration of the Conference. Also in attendance, were judges of the Supreme Court, to include former IAP Executive and Caribbean Representative, The Honourable Mrs Justice Vinette Graham-Allen.

Accordingly, it came as no surprise when Ms. Llewellyn, took the lead and chaired a five minutes session regarding the dormant Caribbean Association of Prosecutors. At the end of the meeting, prosecutors from the Caribbean were optimistic regarding the future of the Association. Later on, Nicola Maffay, speaking about the Prosecutor’s Exchange Programme, shared the success of the exchange program in the The Turks and Caicos Islands. That provided, as well, a strong basis for the need to revive the Caribbean Association of Prosecutors.

The plenary and workshop sessions were insightful and thought-provoking, providing information on best practices and the state of the current legal landscape in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean region that can be used to boost the prosecution of cybercrimes. The participants were exposed to various law enforcement and prosecutorial challenges with respect to current and future cybercrime activities, such as, the Dark Web; Cyber Espionage; Human Rights and Internet Governance; Cyberbullying and Revenge pornography. There was also focus on the vulnerability of the financial institutions. 

There were also equally insightful and forceful presentations that focused on countering cybercrime through money laundering regimes; the use of digital forensic evidence; the use of social media to fight organised crime; and establishing effective international cooperation mechanism in the fight against cybercrime.

The speakers were exceptional and it was made clear that although the challenges we face in the global community in this age of technology are real and significant, they are not insurmountable, and that being a part of this global network gives us significant leverage and comfort that with effective networking and collaboration among each other we can make significant strides in the fight against cybercrime and other transnational crimes.

The participants were exposed to a unique mix of social programs indigenous to the Caribbean region. The Conference commenced with a welcome reception held on the lawns of the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa (where participants stayed) overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea. On day two, at the opening ceremony, participants were treated to a cultural presentation of songs, speeches and dancing by students of the Howard Cooke Primary School. On Thursday evening, the participants enjoyed unique Jamaican cuisine at one of the tourist capital’s hotspots, Pier 1 On The Waterfront, followed by dancing. A farewell dinner reception was held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on the Friday evening, which saw the participants dancing to the beat of reggae and calypso while singing along to the songs of yesteryear delivered by noted Jamaican vocalist, Karen Smith. This was truly an amazing way for our colleagues from Africa, Europe, and North America to experience the Caribbean flavour and our warm Jamaican hospitality.

In concluding, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, while concurring that the Conference was, indeed, a success must acknowledge that such success would not have been possible without the financial support of our sponsors: The National Integrity Action (NIA); the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Section of the United States Embassy, Jamaica; and  the Ministry of Justice.  With equal gratitude, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions wishes to  also thank, in a very big way, the entire IAP executive members, in particular, Thomas Burrows; Kathleen Roussel; Han Moraal; Rasmus H. Wandall; Janne Holst Hubner; Christ Toth and his colleague Hedda Litwin; and all the speakers and participants.

One love from Jamaica!!