The revised operating protocols to govern the controversial Shiprider agreement between Jamaica and the United States is almost complete. The disclosure was made by Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, at a recent sitting of the Senate.

The Shiprider agreement came in for criticism last year after US Coast Guards detained the crew of the fishing vessel, Lady Lala, on suspicion that cocaine was aboard the vessel. The boat was destroyed and the crew detained and charged. A US judge has since dismissed the charges.

The men are alleging inhumane treatment at the hands of US authorities. The Opposition, People’s National Party, PNP, has accused the government of not doing enough to protect the rights of Jamaicans under the agreement.

Minister Johnson Smith says since the incident the Jamaican and US authorities have made significant progress on the revised operating protocols. She says securing Jamaica’s maritime borders and the rights of citizens remain the government’s top priorities.

The Minister says despite the challenges with implementation of the agreement, cooperation with US authorities is necessary in the fight against the trafficking in drugs and illegal firearms.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, speaking in the Senate recently.