Country needs answers about massive gun find, not politicking

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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It was reported that a month ago the United States Customs and Border Protection and Outbound Enforcement Team at the Miami International Airport intercepted a shipment of 115 guns and more than 200 assorted rounds of ammunition destined for Montego Bay, St James. Since it was not being sent to the police, the military, or a legal security company, we have to assume that the shipment was illicit and meant for the murderous hands that have pushed the murder toll above 1,500 for the year so far.

Given the amount of blood that has been shed, and the constant hand-wringing over the seemingly unstoppable crime rate, it is also to be assumed that the authorities are doing everything possible to determine who was behind the shipment.

Such a determination could have far-reaching implications for the efforts of our security forces to get some control over the illegal importation of guns into Jamaica and likely help to reduce the abysmal number of murders occurring almost on a daily basis.

Every single Jamaican should want to know who is the mastermind and financiers of this shipment, if for no other reason than that they could be saving their lives or the lives of their own relatives and loved ones.

This is one area in which the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) must find common cause and ensure that the investigation is not discoloured by partisan political arguments and the blame game.

Reports have surfaced that the authorities are following an alleged lead that is pointing in the direction of a former assistant of a PNP councillor. Nothing is as yet certain at this early stage of the investigation, but we would strongly encourage the PNP to give its fullest co-operation to the authorities to ensure that if the reports are factual the guilty person or persons are identified and apprehended. In other words, let the chip fall where they may.

It would also make it clear that the PNP did nothing to hinder the investigation or to unduly protect anyone linked to any of its members or councillors. The truth is that no political party can ever be sure about the probity of all its supporters.

We use this opportunity to again urge the two major political parties to join hands in the fight against crime. A template is emerging in the realm of the economy in that the programme of stabilising and restoring the economy to health has crossed from the previous Administration to the current.

It is to be regretted that Mr Robert Montague, the national security minister, has himself caused his own idea of a bipartisan security oversight committee to be stillborn by his unwise attempt at one-upmanship on the Opposition.

We in this space can't see how the runaway crime rate in Jamaica will be solved without the political parties uniting the country around the efforts to fight crime.

Crime is an area in which there is perpetual fodder for opposition. The political parties are finding it hard, if not impossible to wean themselves off it.




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