by Derrick Scott
Washington, DC – Jamaica’s National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang this week held discussions with US State Department officials in Washington, DC regarding the building out of the island’s national security architecture to deal with a raft of trans-national crimes affecting the Caribbean Region.
High on the agenda of this week’s meeting, was the matter of illicit firearms which find their way from the United States into the Caribbean where thousands of persons are killed each year in CARICOM countries.
Speaking at a reception given in his honour in Washington on Tuesday evening hosted by Jamaica’s Ambassador Her excellency Audrey Marks, the National Security Minister said Jamaica is a most strategically located Island, and in making it safe, we should take advantage of its logistics that will improve the safety of our citizens.
We are at a stage where we are building out our security architecture to be able to deal effectively with trans-national crimes that is creating havoc with our communities in Jamaica and exercise greater dominion and control over our territorial waters”
He said the United States was taking a renewed interest in the Caribbean and was using Jamaica as its senior partner in the English-speaking Caribbean. He said this was not just because we are concerned about building out our own security apparatus, but Jamaica was a most strategically located island.
Dr. Chang pointed out that we wanted to ensure that the Caribbean basin was a safe Region, and the US was taking a renewed interest so that we can build on our long standing partnership in the region to ensure that we achieve our objectives which would be mutually beneficial.
Dr. Chang pointed out that “the illicit drug trade was damaging the American society, in terms of cocaine and other drugs, and of course, the sale of firearms to our gangsters is still the number one challenge for us in Jamaica,” he said.
In that regard, the National Security Minister said he and his team held talks with the US State Department, the Department of Defence, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Drug Enforcement Agency, the DEA among others.
Coming out of this, he said, there is to be an in-depth analysis of the United States position in the Caribbean as well as we were able to explain to the senior people, our own policy going forward, and how we can allow them to be synergistic in ensuring that not only the Caribbean basin is a safer place, but Jamaica becomes a much safer place at home.
The National Security Minister who was on a four day official visit to Washington, was accompanied by the Commissioner of Police Major General Anthony Anderson and was supported by Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Her Excellency Audrey Marks.