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Jamaica stems guns from US

Regional 26 Nov, 2022 Follow News

Jamaican police on patrol

A massive seizure of guns from Miami

Jamaican authorities are in talks with counterparts in the United States on measures to stem the flow of illegal guns onto the island. The Jamaican crime rate has soared in recent years and the use of firearms has increased alarmingly.

Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the discussions are focused on greater security measures at ports, including securing more scanners.

“I’ve put to our US friends, the need to require greater identification for persons sending packages to Jamaica from the US,” Holness said.

Guns have been used in over 80 per cent of 1,200-plus murders committed in Jamaica each year. The government and security forces are increasing their efforts to remove the illegal weapons from crime scenes. A gun amnesty that ended on Saturday yielded over 90 firearms and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition claimed Holness. And more than 650 illegal firearms are seized each year.

However, there is pressure on the Holness administration to increase its lobby of the US government to reduce the flow of guns from there to Jamaica. Holness said: “We will also be opening discussions with our US friends to have special operations to target Jamaican dons overseas who are using their resources and influence to solicit and direct murders here in Jamaica.”

He told the conference at the National Stadium in Kingston that for too long, foreign dons have operated with impunity. “We’re going to ensure that they can no longer stay in another country and direct crime here,” he insisted. He blasted them for orchestrating activities that are destroying the communities they left behind.

 “Personally, I think it is a shame that someone who got the opportunity to migrate would use that opportunity to seek to make their community a living hell for the people they have left behind,” he stated.

“Instead of sending back computers and assisting with school fees they’re sending guns and bullets to encourage you to kill your brothers and sisters. They mean us no good. They must be arrested and locked away for good.”

Holness added: “We will put a stop to this.”

He mentioned that it was not only criminals overseas who were remotely involved in crime and murders in Jamaica. “In our local prisons, criminals are conducting extortion operations and directing murders; right out of our prisons.”

To curtail the longstanding problem, Holness said he has given instructions for the construction of a new high security prison, designed to make it difficult for inmates to communicate with anyone outside.

The prime minister also pointed to the new Corrections Bill which includes stiffer custodial penalties for correctional officers who assist prisoners in obtaining contraband such as cell phones

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