Jamaica appeals to the US for concrete support in eradicating illegal gun trade in the Region

WASHINGTON, DC – Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks has called on the United States government to work with the Caribbean to fulfil the 2007 pledge made by the USA and CARICOM Member States to enhance co-operation in eradicating the illegal gun trade in the Region.
Ambassador Marks told a hearing on US-Caribbean Security Cooperation that was held by the United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control on Wednesday, that valiant efforts by Jamaican law enforcement and customs authorities continue to be undermined by lax vigilance on the part of their US counterparts.
This, she said, has made it relatively easy for persons to send shipments of illegal weapons from the USA to Jamaica.  
The Jamaican envoy told the US lawmakers that “as trans-shipment countries, Caribbean nations continue to shoulder a significant and disproportionate portion of the cost of the counter-narcotics efforts in the Region.  At the same time, our plea to the producers of small arms and ammunition to shoulder a portion of the responsibility for the alarming flow of illegal weapons into the Region continues to be met with resistance.”  
Ambassador Markes said “one solution could be through the Container Security Initiative, the US-developed bilateral system of information exchange, by which, in theory, a host country offers to conduct a security check on cargo containers leaving for a US port. In return, the host country can send its officers to any US port to target ocean-going containerised cargo being exported to their own country.”  
However, she lamented that the Caribbean’s “experience with this initiative is that, while US officials have been able to conduct inspections of US-bound cargo in our countries; the reverse has not been as actively encouraged.”  
“We know that most of the illegal weapons seized in Jamaica originate in Florida even if they were imported through other countries; and access by Jamaican authorities to these ports would help reduce weapons on the streets of Kingston.”  
She also recommend that “the US focus on helping to build interdiction capability in Caribbean countries, which is critical to our ability to secure the prosecution and conviction of illegal arms traffickers operating out of the USA.”
Ambassador Marks was invited to testify before the US Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, by Chairman Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Co-Chairman Senator Charles E. Grassley and to provide an assessment of the current security situation in Jamaica and to offer recommendations for enhanced US-Caribbean counter narcotics cooperation.

Exit mobile version