Mon | Nov 30, 2020

PNP wants gov't to explain delay in signing MOU with US

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Fitz Jackson - File photo

Opposition spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson, is demanding an explanation from Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte on the delay in the signing of the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States.

Jackson notes that the delay has continued for more than three years, despite the Jamaica's worsening crisis with gun violence and murder.

In a statement today, Jackson said it is unbelievable that a programme of assistance of this nature, which offers benefits to Jamaica in possibly stemming the flow of contraband, particularly guns and ammunition into the country, would have taken the government this long to conclude.

He was responding to a Gleaner report that the government had delayed the signing of the MOU for four years, which would have enhanced the island’s capabilities at the ports to stem the illegal importation of illicit items to the island, including guns and other contraband.

READ: US frustrated by four-and-a-half-year wait for MOU with Ja

Jackson is questioning whether the government's dithering on the US MOU has any relation to the cyber security arrangement with a private Israeli company and whether there are points of conflict between America and the government's plan.

“The government needs to explain the delay to the Jamaican people who continue to suffer from the poor policy options of the Andrew Holness-led administration. The government dithered for four years, more and more innocent Jamaicans fell victims to gun violence, which is now spiralling out of control,” he argued.

"With the best of intentions, we have been unable to stop the flow of illegal guns and ammunition into the island. It is one of the reasons why our murder rate is so high because our borders are porous and if the MOU can help halt the flow of guns, we need to know why was it delayed," Jackson continued.

The proposed MOU agreement would allow American intelligence and customs authorities to partner with local law enforcement to build cases against persons involved in the shipment of contraband items into the island.

Jackson reasoned that the US is Jamaica's foremost trading partner and with whom several agreements are already in existence to address national security issues such as stemming the narcotics trade and intelligence sharing.

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