PM demands gun control

September 20, 2023
Guns seized by the police.
Guns seized by the police.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday demanded "reciprocity" in the fight against illegal drugs.

Holness, speaking at the 37th International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in Montego Bay, St James, said the fight against drugs must be seen as the fight to preserve lives. He said that while Jamaica continues to intensify its efforts to disrupt the drug trade, it is important that the countries such as the US and the United Kingdom do more to stem the flow of illegal guns into the island.

"The war on drugs must be reciprocated, complemented and fought in parallel with the war on guns. The two are a flip side of the same coin. We no longer say it's a war on drugs, we are now saying it's a war to save lives; not just from the abuse of drugs but also from the use and abuse of guns," said Holness.

The prime minister received thunderous applause as he declared that "the gun is a drug", arguing that "persons who are using drugs for a quick high, a quick fix, trying to find happiness in a pill, are just the flip side of young men, poor and dispossessed, trying to find power and respect."

"If we really want to make an impact on the war on drugs, rather saving lives, we need to put similar effort in tackling the accessibility, the availability and use illegal weapons," Holness said.

Jamaica was last week listed by the US President Joe Biden as a major drug transit country, alongside other nations.

The IDEC is a global law enforcement event focused on addressing the challenges associated with drug enforcement and combatting drug-related crimes. It brings together law enforcement agencies, officials, and experts from various countries to collaborate, share information, and discuss strategies for combating drug trafficking, drug abuse, and related criminal activities.

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