Increased activities of law enforcers putting dent in illegal gun trade – Chang
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang

HANOVER, Jamaica - National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has indicated that while there has been an increase in illegal guns and ammunition entering the island in recent times, increased activities of law enforcers, among other things, have resulted in a successful dent in the illicit trade.

Over 70 guns and over 100 rounds of ammunition were seized at the Freeport in St James within a week in two separate incidents.

"It is a reflection of increasing activities of the security forces to identify and find the firearms," stated Dr Chang.

He added that members of the Jamaica Customs Agency are the primary people on the front line who are working hard to ensure that the ports are safe.

“They are collaborating very closely with various elements of the police and the military and MOCA [Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency to deal with what is our biggest challenge which is the increase in the number of guns coming here," stated Dr Chang.

The minister was speaking with the OBSERVER ONLINE in Hanover on Sunday regarding the two Freeport finds.

Twenty-two handguns and several rounds of ammunition were seized at the port on Friday 28. Fifty-four guns and 101 rounds of ammunition were seized seven days later.

READ: Police seize 54 guns, 101 rounds of ammunition at Freeport

On the day of the first find, the minister had told OBSERVER ONLINE that while the port in Montego Bay, St James, is proving to be a challenge to the security forces, they are currently making a dent in the illicit trade.

READ: Over 20 handguns seized at Freeport wharf

On Sunday, Dr Chang declared that people with misplaced minds, especially those affiliated with gangs and have the resources and the willingness to send destructive weapons to Jamaica to undermine the state and hurt their fellow Jamaicans, "the security forces are active and aggressive and committed to deal with all of them."

Furthermore, the minister said the Government is committed to equipping the security forces with the tools needed to carry out their job.

"The Government's commitment is to provide the security personnel with the tools they need to fight these groups of criminals and that means, police, customs…" stated Dr Chang.

Anthony Lewis

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