“An important part of us tackling the illicit drug trade, is reciprocity. The war on drugs must be reciprocated, complimented, and fought in parallel with the war on guns.”
-Prime Minister Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that to make a real impact on the war against illegal drugs and to save lives, significant effort must be placed into tackling the accessibility, availability, and use of illegal weapons. In this regard, Prime Minister Holness asserted that law enforcement must outsmart and outmuscle criminal networks. Speaking at the 37th International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre yesterday (September 19, 2023), Prime Minister Holness also noted that reciprocity in the fight against illegal guns and drugs is important. The Prime Minister said: “On the supply side, Jamaica’s real interest lies in the control of illegal guns that support the drug trade. An important part of tackling the illicit drug trade is reciprocity. The war on drugs must be reciprocated, complimented, and fought in parallel with the war on guns. The two are flip sides on the same coin.” Furthermore, the Prime Minister underscored that law enforcers should consider the use of illegal firearms as a drug. “I would like to introduce a consideration to this august body of law enforcers, that the gun is a drug. Persons who are using drugs for a quick high or a quick fix, trying to find happiness in a pill, are just the flip side of dispossessed young men, trying to find power and respect looking down the barrel of a gun. Many are addicted to it,” said Prime Minister Holness. Importantly, the Prime Minister underscored that to ultimately control and minimize transnational narcotics trafficking, there needs to be further development of policies and programmes to address the demand end of the problem. The Prime Minister said, “As we discuss the issue of how we strengthen our enforcement, we must also seriously contemplate, how we strengthen our presence on the demand side. The truth is that substance abuse, the increasing demand for quick fixes, and trying to find new methods of delivering a high, regardless of the massive allocation of resources that we may make in trying to control the supply side, we all know that as long as demand exists, criminal entrepreneurs will find a way.” In this regard, the Prime Minister noted that to make the job of law enforcers easier, governments must look at the public health and social side of the problem to create a stronger citizen with more socio-emotional intelligence. In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness assured the country’s partners that the Jamaican Government remains committed to the fight against illicit narcotics and the war on drugs to save lives.