Mon | May 20, 2019

Holness pledges support as US grapples with worst mass shooting in its history

Published:Monday | June 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
United States President Barack Obama leaves the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, yesterday, concluding a news conference where he spoke about the massacre at an Orlando nightclub.
Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan (right) embraces Terry DeCarlo, an Orlando gay-rights advocate, as they arrive on the scene of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, yesterday. A gunman wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub early Sunday, before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said. It was the worst mass shooting in American history.

A mass shooting in Florida, described as the worst in United States history, that has left 50 people dead and 53 wounded, has prompted Prime Minister Andrew Holness to write to United States Ambassador Luis G. Moreno to express condolences and show solidarity.

In his letter, Prime Minister Holness said: "The people of Jamaica have been good friends and supporters of the people of the United States of America. You have stood with us constantly throughout our history and we stand with you today as you grieve and seek answers."

He added: "The world must finally deal with terrorism and gun violence, which continues to scar our quest for peace and brotherhood among peoples. The people of the United States of America are constantly in our prayers as we have been in yours in our times of tragedy and pain. We stand together with you as brothers and sisters committed to a better world for our peoples."

In a statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister in the aftermath of the shooting, which occurred at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning, Holness extended condolences to the people of the United States.

"We are working with our United States partners to reduce the influx of guns into Jamaica as they, too, are constantly reminded of the impact of gun violence on their society," he said.




Turning its attention to Jamaica, the prime minister noted that the Government is working with the police and the army to deal with the issue of gun violence in the island.

The prime minister's statement was coming a day after the police revealed that they and the army would be mounting more police-military operations in the western end of the island.

Last week, stakeholders examining the first 100 days of the current administration noted that they were not seeing enough urgency in its attempts to seek solutions to crime.

At the same time, police statistics revealed that with less than six months gone in the year, St James had already recorded more than 100 murders, a spike when compared to the similar period last year.

Yesterday, Holness called for an end to gun violence and affirmed the Government's commitment to bring crime under control.