Regional

Guns coming through 145 illegal ports of entry — security minister

BY RENAE DIXON
Observer staff reporter
dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 04, 2017

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National Security Minister Robert Montague says the country is slated to receive a surveillance aircraft next March to assist with the monitoring of the island's waters.

This in addition to two new ships purchased in recent times.

Montague, who was speaking at a town hall meeting in St Ann last Thursday, said there is need for increased surveillance to stem the flow of illegal firearms into the country.

The security minister disclosed that there are 145 illegal ports of entry and 497 miles of unmonitored coastline.

According to the minister, there have been several attempts to smuggle illegal guns at the island's 14 legal ports of entry where there is monitoring by x-ray machines, dogs and security personnel.

“If that is being attempted at a legal point where there is surveillance, can you imagine what is coming in at the 145 illegal points of entry? Our major problem in Jamaica is the illegal guns and gangs,” Montague said.

He added that guns are used to carry out 84 per cent of crimes committed in the country.

“We don't make guns and we don't make any ammunition in this country, but everywhere you go, every little puss and dog have gun,” he continued.

Montague said the seriousness of the situation has been highlighted through ballistics and an app which was developed by a police officer enabling the tracking of some illegal guns.

He said every illegal gun that comes into the system is assigned a name and tracked based on bullet fragments and spent shells.

“We have discovered that the top five most wanted guns in Jamaica are responsible for 92 shooting incidents ending up in 58 murders in seven parishes,” Montague said.

He said this shows that the guns are moving and are being used across the country and noted that this raises the question of whether the perpetrators are moving or the guns are being rented.

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