By The Eightfold Path
Jamaica, the Maroons, and the US.
By The Eightfold Path


Action Plan



Analysis 1

Analysis 2

Analysis 3


US Influence


In 1978 the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs was created with $35,000,000. The BINLEA's mission is to use the full range of United States diplomacy to "persuade" foreign governments to adopt the United States position on drugs, and the importance of adopting this position for maintaining future cooperation with the United States.

The muscle behind the BINLEA's mission is presidential certification. Every year, the President of the United States must certify that the targeted country (any country which the US believes drugs funnel through to get to the States--Jamaica being one of them) has cooperated fully with American anti-drug efforts or has taken adequate measures to meet the goal of the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. While Jamaica did join the such United Nations Convention, it occurred a few years after 1988. Since the goals set up in the convention are very difficult, if not impossible, to attain, certification invariably depends on cooperation with the United States.

Failure to cooperate and achieve certification can result in a most unpleasant outcome. Section 450 on the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 makes it such that any country which is certified receives all of the United States foreign aid which has been set aside for the country plus any past aid which had been withheld. Countries which are not certified may have most to all of their aid withheld, and the United States may potentially take trade, economic or other sanctions against such country. In other words, it is very important for many of these countries to receive US certification. Also, it is important to note that, since 1987, no Caribbean country receives more money from the US to fight drugs then Jamaica.

After the United Nations Convention and the United States implementation of the Section 450, many countries have, possibly coincidentally, ratified anti-drug/cooperation treaties with the United States. The Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Center in Jamaica was built largely with American money. The United States has a bilateral counter-narcotics agreement with Jamaica that is amended yearly. This agreement stresses judicial reform, control of money laundering, eradication and seizure of marijuana and cannabis plants, and other various measures. In 1991, an extradition treaty was signed. Also in 1995, a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty was signed to combat illegal drug traffic. A Maritime Cooperation Agreement also has been in the works, and may already be implemented so that the United States and Jamaica Coast Guards may work together. No doubt, the United States Omnibus Crime Bill of 1984 will have a huge impact if the Maritime Cooperation Agreement ever is fully implemented. The Crime Bill gives United States law enforcement the right to seize anything they believe to be drugs, contain drugs, or have been tainted by drugs or drug money--without notice. This forfeiture first, due process later rule governs US interactions with many Jamaican ships which are stopped, harassed, and often seized partially or fully by American law enforcement.

Even with all the concessions and treaties Jamaica has made, America still feels that the Government of Jamaica still needs to take more action. The United States points to Jamaica falling short of the 800 hectare goal of cannabis eradication. In 1996, 473 hectares were destroyed, in 1997--683 hectares. Also the United States is displeased in the drop from 53 metric tons of marijuana seized in 1996 to 24 seized in 1997. The United States is using its "big stick" and economic clout (while no longer walking softly) to pressure Jamaica and, in the process, impose on the hard-won freedom of the Maroons.