Wed | Sep 26, 2018

Disturbing trend at our borders

Published:Thursday | October 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: The admission by a deputy superintendent of police that the police are not equipped to handle coast smugglers is very frightening and should be cause for grave concern for all Jamaicans. In recent times, a disturbing trend has developed where a number of nationals from Central America, namely Costa Rica and Nicaragua, have entered Jamaica illegally.

Alarmingly, a lack of a paper trail has rendered the authorities helpless in knowing how long the Central American nationals have been staying in Jamaica, given that they did not use the country's legal ports of entry.

Undoubtedly, Jamaica's national security is at risk in view of the fact that we already know that there is an ongoing guns-for-drugs trade. It is well documented that Jamaica provides drugs in this lucrative business in exchange for guns.

Despite Jamaica's budgetary constraints, the country needs to redouble its efforts to monitor and protect its borders. Jamaica is a relatively small island with a land area of 4,244 square miles. It has a coastline of 1,022km, or 634 miles, which makes policing the border challenging but not impossible, if more resources are allocated to this vital cause.

The monitoring of a country's border, including territorial waters, becomes more urgent as the international community is on an Ebola virus alert. The possibility exists that some virus could have entered the shores of Jamaica with the illegal entry of these men from Central America.

As a matter of fact, we are not even sure which other nationals have illegally entered our shores. As citizens of Jamaica, our health is at risk if we do not put measures in place to curtail the number of illegal migrants entering the country.

The country needs to be proactive regarding the monitoring of our borders. There are other related issues surrounding a country with a porous and open border, such as human trafficking.

Protecting one's borders from the illegal movement of people, weapons and drugs is paramount to a country's national security and economic prosperity, for which we all strive.

Wayne Campbell