FORMER JAMAICAN ambassador to the United Nations, Curtis A. Ward wants the Jamaican populace to accept greater responsibility for the flow of illegal firearms into the country, arguing that it cannot be the responsibility of the Government alone.
"Each time I read a report about the police seizing an illegal firearm, I am encouraged; it's one less gun on the street," said Ward, while delivering the keynote address at the third annual St James Police Civic Committee ball, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre last Saturday night.
"But, I am also discouraged because it tells me that the security architecture of this country is weak; our maritime borders are not secure; our interdiction of illegal firearms is woefully inadequate, and we are not stopping guns from entering Jamaica," added Ward.
Not enough being done
In bemoaning the fact that not enough is being undertaken to stem the flow of illegal firearms into the island, Ward cautioned Jamaicans to stop seeking to cast the blame on other countries, as the responsibility for securing our borders was first and foremost our own.
"We blame the United States (US) for not doing enough to stop the flow of illegal guns to our shore (but) while the US deserves some blame, it is our responsibility to ensure that our borders are secure and that we have control over what enters into our territory," continued Ward.
"The US shares a mutual interest in controlling illicit arms trafficking, but it is our responsibility to protect our territory, our country, not the responsibility of others," added Ward.
The ambassador called for Jamaica to adopt a collaborative approach to stem the influx of illegal firearms into the country, not only from the United States, but also from those countries from which the firearms originate.