More needed to tackle small arms trade - Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has appealed for deeper cooperation from governments around the world to fight crime by reducing access to small arms and light weapons.
Addressing the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly last Friday, Holness noted that peace and security is a sustainable development goal (SDG 16).
"It is often spoken about in the context of peace between states. However, peace within states is just as important," said Holness.
"Jamaica, like much of the Caribbean and Central America, is challenged by crime, concentrated in certain communities. This has had a destructive impact on families, and has deterred investment and discouraged business development.
"Crime in sections of Jamaica threatens the attainment of sustainable development goals. Tackling crime is a priority of our Government," added Holness.
He argued that while the Jamaican Government will do its part, the common problem the region faces requires deeper security cooperation.
"The international community must also move with greater alacrity towards eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons," declared Holness.
"Jamaica is acutely aware of the destruction that can be wrought as a result of easy access to small arms and light weapons, particularly when in the possession of sophisticated networks of organised criminal groups," noted Holness.
The prime minister warned that Jamaica's strategic location, which is extremely favourable for trade and logistics, provides a potential transit point for illicit activities.
"It is this reality that has defined and propelled our participation in a range of bilateral, regional and multilateral arrangements, aimed at restricting the source, means and capabilities that have been fuel to these dangerous relationships, made even more destructive through links to the drug trade.
"Jamaica has been a staunch supporter of the Arms Trade Treaty and we are working towards its full and effective implementation.
"We call on all arms-exporting countries to abide by their legally binding obligations under the treaty," said Holness as he urged the UN to do more in the fight against crime.