Jamaica partners with UN in gun fight
Jamaica recently became one of two countries to benefit from a 12-month pilot programme aimed at reducing the prevalence of small and lightweight weapons into the country.
The programme is being funded by the Saving Lives Entity (SALIENT) Fund operated by the UN. SALIENT, which is aligned to Jamaica's National Development Goals, serves to enhance Jamaica's legislative and institutional framework to regulate access to small arms, their parts, components and ammunition.
More than 376 illegal firearms and over 7, 511 assorted pieces of ammunition have been seized by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) since the start of the year. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang said illegal firearms and ammunition have been major contributing factors to murders across the island.
"The proliferation of firearms, resulting in increased access in Jamaica, is a direct catalyst for murders committed, when mixed with the propensity for violence among criminal gangs in environments that engender poor dispute resolution," Chang said.
The minister, who was speaking at the recent launch of the project in Montego Bay, St James said that firearms, such as handguns, have been the weapon of choice for major crimes in Jamaica.
Statistical data provided by the JCF indicate that over 680 murders have been committed since the start of year.
Chang noted that "pistols and revolvers are the most frequently recovered firearms as they are preferred by criminals for flexibility, concealability, price and access to ammunition".