Guns entering Ja via controlled ports due to corruption — ACP

Guns entering Ja via controlled ports due to corruption — ACP

Observer writer

Thursday, May 03, 2018

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ROSE HALL, St James — Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Selvin Hay says while it is easy to get firearms into Jamaica via the country's unmanned ports, due to corruption, it is becoming easier to do so through controlled ports.

Hay, who has responsibility for the crime and security portfolios in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, made the statement Tuesday during day two of the 33rd annual general meeting and conference of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police in St James.

He was part of a panel that was discussing the topic 'A holistic approach to stem the occurrence of gun violence' when he pointed out that, although the police are embarking on electronic surveillance, tightening border protection and patrol, and obtaining marine assets to assist with the protection of 145 unmanned ports, the dilemma persists.

“And, even [though] we are successful in that respect of the strategy, we are seeing that firearms are coming in through the controlled ports. And so, the issue of corruption is rife and right in the middle of that major problem,” Hay said.

Firearms are responsible for approximately 80 per cent of the crimes committed in Jamaica over the past three years.

Meanwhile, in the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, according to Assistant Commissioner of Police (Acting) McDonald Jacob, there are more than 200 gangs.

Jacob said gangs in that country are now using used vehicles as part of transnational crime.

“We also have the problem of motor vehicle larceny for the used vehicle trade. Now the gangs are actually using that as a part of the whole aspect of transnational crime.

“So, added to the guns, we also have that aspect where the gangs are getting involved... and we don't know if some of these vehicles, after they are stolen — 800 or so per year, and about four to five hundred persons are robbed of their vehicles — [they] are being transported to other Caribbean countries,” Jacob said.

He also noted that gun violence is an issue in Trinidad, informing the conference that over the past two years, approximately 2,000 firearms were seized. He said, too, that since the start of the year, almost 400 cases have been reported.

Jacob also disclosed that of approximately 475 murders committed per year, within the past three years, 12 per cent were domestic violence-related matters. He said in most of the cases a firearm was used.

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