KINGSTON National Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson, has announced the development of a national small arms policy, as part of efforts to stem the flow of illegal firearms into Jamaica.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry, New Kingston, on Tuesday August 9, Senator Nelson said that the service of an international consultant with “wide and vast” experience in small arms policy has been engaged.
He said that the development of new approaches for the control of small arms, both legal and illegal, as well amendments to the relevant laws and other issues related to arms and explosives would be addressed by the policy.
The briefing was held jointly with Head of the United States Southern Military Command (SOUTHCOM), General Douglas Fraser, to re-affirm collaboration between the US and Jamaica in the fight against crime and violence in the Caribbean and Latin America, involving SOUTHCOM and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
The briefing formed part of the itinerary for the two-day visit by General Fraser, who arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday.
Highlighting the significance of the bilateral cooperation between both countries in maintaining law and order, Senator Nelson lamented that crime and violence were “very destructive to our democracy”. He contended that the cooperation created a safer and a more enabling environment and protects and preserves0 democracy.
The Minister said significant areas of the cooperation included support for Jamaica’s law enforcement agencies to disrupt criminal activity, bi-lateral training of law enforcement agents and multinational capacity building. He noted that these areas of cooperation, particularly through the US Southern Command, enhance Jamaica’s capabilities and preserve its democracy.
“We look forward to continuing the cooperation between the United States and Jamaica,” Senator Nelson said.
JDF Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, said General Fraser’s visit will give him a different perspective on the country’s security challenges. He said it will also enable him to have greater appreciation of the JDF's role and connectivity with other local law enforcement agencies, as well as the extent of support it provides within the region.
“No matter how much you are briefed about what is happening in a country, and about the circumstances in a country, you will never be able to quite appreciate those circumstances, until you have been there,” he contended.
Noting that SOUTHCOM and the JDF have collaborated in many areas, Major General Anderson said the cooperation has been mutually beneficial.
General Fraser contended that there was nothing better than being able to talk, “face to face”, and to understand the situation that Major General Anderson has to deal with daily.
“We look forward to continuing that partnership for many, many years, into the future,” he assured.
The United States Southern Command is the geographic command responsible for all U.S. military cooperation and partnerships in the Caribbean and Latin America.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter