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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is urging the Organization of American (OAS) to continue to strengthen its support for member states to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
  • Mr. Holness said that the illicit arms trade is inextricably linked to organised crime and corruption across the region and is creating serious challenges to development.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is urging the Organization of American (OAS) to continue to strengthen its support for member states to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Mr. Holness said that the illicit arms trade is inextricably linked to organised crime and corruption across the region and is creating serious challenges to development.

“We have made tremendous strides as a nation in our fight against illegal weapons. I take this opportunity to urge the OAS to continue to strengthen its support for member states to combat this illicit trade, which threatens the very fabric of our societies. It is rapidly leading to the destruction of the many gains made by the countries of the Americas,” he said.

Prime Minister Holness was speaking at the organisation’s Protocolary Session in Washington DC, on Tuesday (November 27).

He saluted the role of the OAS in the Summit of the Americas process, through the promotion of meaningful dialogue on important issues affecting the region.

He noted that this year’s theme, ‘Democratic Governance against Corruption’, “was indeed most fitting, especially against the backdrop of the magnitude of this scourge that confronts our countries, posing a serious threat to the rule of law and social order”{.

Mr. Holness informed that in 2017, Jamaica attained its highest ever ranking and score, over the past decade, in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International, “making our country on par with the Americas in that regard”.

Turning to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, the Prime Minister said human rights is a core pillar of the OAS and one which Jamaica strongly supports, having played a crucial role in the development of these rights.

“I believe that a hemispheric culture anchored in human rights will undoubtedly lead to a stronger Americas, providing a solid platform for economic growth, security and stability for all throughout the hemisphere,” he said.

“We must begin, as a region, to take the bold steps necessary to change the past and open the doors to a brighter future for the nearly one billion people who look to us for guidance and direction,” he said.