J'can cops going to Haiti to fight gun-for-drugs trade

J'can cops going to Haiti to fight gun-for-drugs trade

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, September 17, 2015

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A group of Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) members will over the next few be deployed to the neighbouring Caribbean island, Haiti, as part of plans to clamp down on the guns-for-drugs trade.

The Police High Command yesterday said the move is also a part of an effort to boost collaboration between authorities in both countries as they move to roll out an aggressive campaign against criminals involved in the deadly guns trade.

Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams said, too, that the move was part of a series of initiative the will all fall under the Get-the-Guns campaign that was announced earlier this year, but officially launched yesterday at the police commissioner's offices on Old Hope Road in Kingston. "The purpose of the Get-the-Guns campaign is to significantly reduce the number of illegal guns and ammunition that are used by criminals to wreak havoc in our society," Dr Williams told reporters.

In addition to tackling the drugs-for-guns trade, the campaign will also involve an increase in search operations islandwide; a increase in police presence on the roads; and an increase in the monitoring of the nation's coastlines.

"We will [also] boost our marine fleet for greater patrolling and monitoring of our coastlines," said the police commissioner.

Incentives are to be provided to police stations and police personnel, who have seized the largest number of guns, while rewards will be provided to civilians who offer vital information that lead to seizure of guns.

Police did not go into details the amount to be rewarded but said it would be similar to rewards offered by Crime Stop.

"Guns have penetrated the length and breadth of this country, reaching rural communities and completely changing the way of life in areas that were once quiet," the police commissioner said.

Painting a picture of how deadly guns have wreaked havoc across the island, Dr Williams said firearms were used in more than 10,300 murders over the last 10 years.

"That is approximately 75 per cent of the 13,780 plus murders recorded over the period. During the same period, an additional 9,000 Jamaicans were shot and injured, resulting in a heavy burden in our health services," he said.

Dr Williams noted further "20,598 persons were robbed at gunpoint, with many of them killed during the course of the robbery. During the same period, guns featured in the rape of some 1,200 defenceless women and girls.

The police chief said that, in addition to initiatives announced, several senior officers are to be assigned in areas affected by an upsurge in crime.

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