Jamaica has once again been listed by the United States as a major drug transit country, alongside other nations around the world. In a White House memorandum released on Friday, President Joe Biden announced the designation for fiscal year 2024.
Apart from Jamaica, Caribbean countries on the list include The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Haiti, while Belize, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burma, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela are also named.
However, President Biden emphasised that being on this list does not imply that a country’s government is neglecting its efforts to combat illicit activities. He stated that a nation’s presence on the list should not be viewed as an assessment of its counter drug initiatives or cooperation with the US.
Furthermore, Biden pointed out that American legislation has redefined major drug source countries to encompass precursor chemical suppliers used in producing illicit substances with significant impacts on the US. Noting that controlling precursor chemicals’ diversion to illicit drug manufacturing is a particularly challenging task for countries with sizable chemical and pharmaceutical industries. China was specifically mentioned as a major source country due to this legislative change.
Biden urged the PRC and other chemical-producing nations to tighten their supply chains and prevent diversion. He also designated Bolivia, Burma (Myanmar), and Venezuela as “having failed demonstrably during the previous 12 months” under section 706(2)(A) of the FRAA in meeting international counter narcotics agreements and requirements enforced by section 489(a)(1) of the FAA.
Additionally, President Biden determined that US programmes supporting Bolivia, Burma (Myanmar), and Venezuela are critical to American national interests. He asserted that international collaboration is crucial in reducing the availability of illicit drugs and that political commitment from global partners is vital in addressing these threats.