With national security as the central focus of my working visit to the United States, I also met on Tuesday with National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan. During our meeting I noted that half of Jamaica’s crime is generated from the trade of illegal guns and drugs, which require domain awareness, control of our borders and strong partnerships, particularly with the US, which is the point of origin for guns.
As I have previously observed, the singular focus on drugs renders the challenge of guns unmanageable, and therefore equal and complementary effort must be made to tackle guns.
I was encouraged by the US’ acknowledgement of the central role it occupies in the firearms trade, its equal obligation to doing something about it, as well as the commitment to review Jamaica’s security plans and evaluate it against the United States’ own plan of action, to create practical and implementable approaches to addressing Jamaica’s national security concerns.
A critical prong in treating with Jamaica’s national security concern, is the appointment of a special prosecutor who takes a distinctive interest in prosecuting those who facilitate and orchestrate criminal activities through their local network. Most Jamaican gangs, which are an existential threat to the state and a national security problem, have a connection to the US through the Diaspora and so a special focus in this area should have a net positive impact on the prevalence of gang related crime and violence.
Also discussed during our meeting is the ongoing crisis in Haiti and efforts to restore stability. Jamaica, through Caricom, has played a key role in mobilizing support for Haiti and in facilitating internal dialogue among stakeholders.Peace and stability in Haiti are not only in the best interest of our Haitian brothers and sisters, but also in the interest of Jamaica and the wider region, and we will continue our advocacy in this regard.
Another important element of Jamaica’s security is our energy security, and as we move to address our energy security, we continue to explore partnerships with the US to expand our renewable energy capacity and reduce energy cost for our Jamaican people.