More needed to tackle small arms trade – Hol­ness

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

PRIME MIN­IS­TER An­drew Hol­ness has ap­pealed for deeper co­op­er­a­tion from gov­ern­ments around the world to fight crime by re­duc­ing ac­cess to small arms and light weapons.

Ad­dress­ing the 71st ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly last Fri­day, Hol­ness noted that peace and se­cu­rity is a sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goal (SDG 16).

“It is of­ten spo­ken about in the con­text of peace be­tween states. How­ever, peace within states is just as im­por­tant,” said Hol­ness.

“Ja­maica, like much of the Caribbean and Cen­tral Amer­ica, is chal­lenged by crime, con­cen­trated in cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties. This has had a de­struc­tive im­pact on fam­i­lies, and has de­terred in­vest­ment and dis­cour­aged busi­ness devel­op­ment.

“Crime in sec­tions of Ja­maica threat­ens the at­tain­ment of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals. Tack­ling crime is a pri­or­ity of our Gov­ern­ment,” added Hol­ness.

COM­MON PROB­LEM

He ar­gued that while the Ja­maican Gov­ern­ment will do its part, the com­mon prob­lem the re­gion faces re­quires deeper se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion.

“The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must also move with greater alacrity to­wards erad­i­cat­ing the il­licit trade in small arms and light weapons,” de­clared Hol­ness.

“Ja­maica is acutely aware of the de­struc­tion that can be wrought as a re­sult of easy ac­cess to small arms and light weapons, par­tic­u­larly when in the pos­ses­sion of so­phis­ti­cated net­works of or­gan­ised crim­i­nal groups,” noted Hol­ness.

The prime min­is­ter warned that Ja­maica’s strate­gic lo­ca­tion, which is ex­tremely favourable for trade and lo­gis­tics, pro­vides a po­ten­tial tran­sit point for il­licit ac­tiv­i­ties.

“It is this re­al­ity that has de­fined and pro­pelled our par­tic­i­pa­tion in a range of bi­lat­eral, re­gional and mul­ti­lat­eral ar­range­ments, aimed at re­strict­ing the source, means and ca­pa­bil­i­ties that have been fuel to these dan­ger­ous re­la­tion­ships, made even more de­struc­tive through links to the drug trade.

“Ja­maica has been a staunch sup­porter of the Arms Trade Treaty and we are work­ing to­wards its full and ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“We call on all arms-ex­port­ing coun­tries to abide by their legally bind­ing obli­ga­tions un­der the treaty,” said Hol­ness as he urged the UN to do more in the fight against crime.

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