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Gov't Going All Out To Stem Importation Of Illegal Weapons, Chang Tells US Diaspora

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has assured members of the United States Diaspora that the government is going all out to stem the illegal trafficking of guns and ammunition into the island .

Addressing some 2000 members of the North America Diaspora at the second in the series of 'Lets Connect with Ambassador Marks' -- an online town hall meeting on Thursday, April 8 -- Dr Chang explained that the government was now looking at a more robust legislative framework to deal with crime. “We don't make guns in Jamaica, much of the guns coming in are from the United States, and we are getting much more cooperation from the United States authorities in dealing with the illegal trading of firearms,”

Dr Chang told his audience. “Although some (guns) come in through the United States, others come in through Central America and Haiti and they are exchanged for drugs. What we have done so far is very costly, but we have retooled the entire Coast Guard, creating a Marine, Air and Cyber Security division called the MACS Brigade, commanded by a senior female officer, Commodore Antonette Wemyss-Gorman,” Dr Chang said.“We have acquired three ocean going vessels, and a marine patrol aircraft which have been very effective in intercepting the boats at sea, and stemming the guns for drugs trade,” Minister Chang added.

He said that the government will be implementing a more robust legislative framework to punish those who engage in illicit gun trade, as 80 per cent of the homicides are committed with firearms. “We are in the process of having a new Firearms Act Which will increase penalties for not only illegal possession and use of firearms, but also trading and manufacturing. We are looking at a number of other pieces of legislation so we can have a more robust legislative framework in dealing with crime,” Chang said.

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