Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field *File photo
Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field *File photo

Bermuda will need to work with other countries to crack down on international crime and gang violence, the island’s top prosecutor told the Investigating and Prosecuting Complex Transnational Crimes conference yesterday.

And Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field said that prosecutors and police had to work more closely to deal with complex international crime, money-laundering and cross-border traffic in guns.

Mr Field told the international gathering: “One of the underlying purposes of this conference is not only to reach out and create sustainable links with other prosecution services in the region, but also to better link up prosecution services in the region with the police.

“Increasingly, as crimes become more complex, it is more important for police and prosecutors to work together effectively at the investigative stage of a case.”

Mr Field was speaking at the start of a two-day conference involving legal figures from the Caribbean, England, the US and Canada, as well as Bermuda.

Sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the conference is designed to share experiences and promote closer working links across the region to combat cross-border criminality and corruption.

Mr Field said his department had focused on regional training over the last five years, rather than concentrating on courses for Bermuda prosecutors and police.

He added: “Many crimes now are of a transnational nature and know no borders. This goes particularly for financial crimes and drugs trafficking.

“However, even crimes like gun crimes only occur because somewhere along the line, the gun and the ammunition have been smuggled into Bermuda, so immediately there is an international dimension.

“Further, almost all the forensics needed to prosecute complex cases require international assistance with their analysis and presentation, so there is inherently a major international element in many cases and we must thus think internationally.”

Mr Field added: “Whether we are thinking about money laundering or drug trafficking, our jurisdictions are linked together, so we must work effectively together to counter the threat crime provides to our peaceful way of life.”

Mr Field said that speakers would focus on corruption, how other countries combat it and “what should we be doing to stamp out this particular crime, which, although one of the most serious, is seldom actually prosecuted.”

Other workshops at the conference, being held at the Hamilton Princess, will look at money-laundering, terrorism financing and mutual legal assistance. Mr Field added: “The final topic of the day will be complex gang crime threats and links to transnational organised crime. We will look at this both from a prosecution and from a police perspective.”

And he said: “It is important to state that this current Bermuda workshop is not an ad hoc or one off event, but rather part of a programme of events supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat throughout the region trying to assist the development of the criminal justice system institutions in the face of the growth of serious, complex and economic crime, which left unchecked could seriously threaten the security of the region.”

Governor George Fergusson told the conference that Bermuda had agreed to sign up with an OECD convention on bribery signed by the UK. He said: “Bermuda will be bringing in legislation to allow the OECD bribery convention to be extended to Bermuda, which is an important step.”

Minister for Legal Affairs Mark Pettingill added: “We decided as a jurisdiction to do all that’s possible to meet international standards…….and collaborate on financial and economic crime at an international level.”

And he pledged that Bermuda would continue to pass laws to fight “money laundering and terrorist financing.”