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JAMAICA OBSERVER – A statement made by the St Lucia Government that Jamaica is among countries from which recruits for the Islamic State (IS) group have departed, yesterday angered Observer Facebook fans, leaving many asking for proof.
St Lucia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste was defending his country when he said foreign fighters have gone to Syria from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, and Suriname and Venezuela in South America.
However, Observer Facebook fans denied that their countrymen would leave the island to join foreign terrorist groups and demanded that Baptiste provide evidence to substantiate his claim.
“Jamaican???no sa. To how we fraid fi dead. Not even fi a million virgin,” one user commented on the article.
“Does this Mr Baptise have PROOF that JAMAICANS are there fighting… MR MINISTER OF SECURITY YU NEED FI SETTLE THIS, AND LIKE …….NOW !” another demanded.
Other comments include:
“I said already and I’m going to say it again we Jamaican can’t join ISIS bcz we late fi everything if the place fi bomb up 7 am all 9 o clock wi just a left wi yard!”
“Jamaicans might licky licky but nu so….. Dnt believe that one bit…”
“As bad as things may be Jamaicans are not so stupid to be involve with ISIS. Until I see proof then I am gonna defend my country. We get too much bad name.”
Baptiste made his statement after Marine General John F Kelly, chief of the Miami-based US Southern Command, known as SOUTHCOM, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee on March 12 that about 100 people have joined the militant group from the region.The report listed Jamaica as one of several countries in the Region from which recruits have departed for Syria.
In regards to this, other fans called on the Government to provide a response.
“I would seriously ask my Govt to please clarify this. How? The same way that they can be making such accusations, they must be able to prove it without a shadow of a doubt,” a Facebook fan commented.
Another expressed: “I am amazed by this article, what proof does this general have to justify his statement and this St Lucian man (Baptiste) labbering his mouth, where is his proof? I am further shocked by our leaders silence. Where is the minister of foreign affairs r whoever? So madam Portia u can’t ask the relevant questions here?”
“Jamaican authorities should have ask the US to provide the identities of the Jamaicans who they claimed to be ISIS. If the US can’t substantiate their claim then that organisation or person who made the claim should be sued,” another said.
However, the Security Ministry said in a release on March 14 that it has been monitoring the emerging situation with respect to the recruiting efforts of terrorist groups and there is no information of any Jamaican being involved.
“To date, we have not received any information to indicate that Jamaicans have departed our shores to join terrorist groups” the release added.
The ministry went on to clarify the statement saying: “The fact is that, the actual prepared text of the speech delivered by General Kelly did not name Jamaica, and as such it is possible that the reported comment may be the result of a misunderstanding. As soon as that situation has been clarified an update will be provided.”
An update is yet to be provided.