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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, has said that continued co-operation in areas of security and justice with the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom would be a major focus at the bilateral level.
“The British Government is working closely with us in areas of law enforcement and intelligence gathering. With the United States, we will continue to address transnational organized criminal activities, including narco-trafficking and small arms. With Canada, we are receiving valuable assistance in capacity building and institutional reform in the justice sector,” he said.
Dr. Baugh, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, was making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 25.
The Minister said that the country’s major problem is crime and violence and the unacceptable murder rate, and that there can be no doubt as to the nexus between the illicit trafficking in small arms, drugs and organized crime.
He pointed out that as the country grapple with the monster of crime at the domestic level, “we have an obligation to ensure that we do all that we can to stem the flow of illegal guns into the island.”
“Jamaica will continue to advocate for the establishment of a legally binding instrument which contains stricter controls over the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons,” he said.
Dr. Baugh explained that the issue on which Jamaica has focused is the need to establish a system for a marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons to enable states to more effectively identify these arms. He said Jamaica wishes to register its disappointment that there is reluctance on the part of some countries to adopt a legally binding mechanism to this end.
The Minister said that the crime situation is not unique to Jamaica and that other Caribbean countries are faced with an increase in crime and violence.
He said that a special summit held in Trinidad and Tobago with Heads of Government in April 2008, produced an Action Plan to fight crime at national and regional levels.
“The transnational nature of crime requires that we continue to engage at the highest diplomatic and political levels and at the level of the security forces with countries such as the US, Canada, Haiti, Colombia and those in Central America,” the Minister emphasized.

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