Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says Jamaica must take greater collective responsibility for the damage caused by illegal firearms entering Jamaica. 


Delivering the Keynote Address to the second annual National Security Seminar,  Mr Holness stressed that the nation must shoulder responsibility for curbing this dangerous influx and not place blame externally.


Highlighting the government’s steadfast efforts to enhance national security, Holness pointed out the significant challenge posed by the flow of illegal guns into the country, which fuels violence and organized crime. “The truth is, it is not Americans meaning persons without Jamaican connections that are sending guns here. It is our relatives, our family members,” the Prime Minister stated, addressing the complexity of the issue which often involves illicit shipments hidden in seemingly innocuous items sent from abroad.


The Prime Minister firmly dismissed the notion of shifting blame to other nations, particularly the United States, for the gun problem. “This is Jamaica’s problem. Jamaica must take responsibility and not leave our national security up to our partners,” Holness declared, underscoring the importance of self-reliance in national security matters.


Acknowledging the evolving nature of the threat, with the profile of weapons changing from post-conflict arms to more sophisticated firearms, Holness pointed out the urgent need for Jamaica to bolster its defences. “Now what we’re seeing are AR-15 and Glock platforms, which are mostly coming out of North America,” he noted, indicating a shift towards more advanced weaponry exacerbating the local crime situation.


To combat this, the Prime Minister detailed the government’s investment in maritime and border security measures, including offshore patrol vessels and maritime patrol aircraft, to intercept illegal shipments. He also mentioned ongoing efforts to secure ports and enhance surveillance, signalling a comprehensive approach to tackle the issue.


While acknowledging the assistance and cooperation from international partners, particularly the United States, Holness called for a concerted effort within Jamaica to address the root causes of the gun problem. He expressed gratitude for the presence of U.S. officials at the seminar, viewing it as a positive step towards strengthening collaboration in fighting the illegal gun trade.


Prime Minister Holness’ comments reflect a broader commitment to tackling the issues of violence and organized crime head-on, recognizing the need for Jamaica to take a proactive stance in ensuring its own security and safety. Through his address, Holness conveyed a message of responsibility, resilience, and the importance of internal and external cooperation to safeguard the future of Jamaica from the scourge of illegal firearms.