Jamaica's efforts to clean up its image as a narcotics transshipment hub have suffered a major setback as US President Donald Trump has listed the island among more than twenty countries classified as major drug transit or major illicit drug producing territories.
The designation was made in Mr. Trump's Presidential Determination on Major Drug Transit or Major Illicit Drug Producing Countries for Fiscal Year 2020 report.
News of Jamaica's inclusion on the list, which is dated August 8, follows the recent $4.5 billion cocaine find.
The cocaine, which weighed 2,600 pounds, was intercepted late last month by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard 60 miles southeast of Morant Point.
The US list includes Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and India.
The other countries are Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru as well as Venezuela.
The report says a country's presence on the list is not necessarily a reflection of its government's counter-narcotics efforts or level of cooperation with the United States.
It explained that the reason countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factors that allow drugs to transit or be produced, even if a government has engaged in robust and diligent narcotics control measures.
In the report, Mr. Trump said his Administration has devoted unprecedented resources to combating the scourge of illicit drugs in the United States, including by strengthening its borders and expanding programmes to prevent illicit drug use and aid the recovery and treatment of those who need it.