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Portia satisfied with US efforts to stem flow of guns

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton
US President Barack Obama and Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller after their bilateral meeting at the Jamaica House in St Andrew yesterday.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said yesterday she is satisfied with the assistance being provided by the United States of America to stem the flow of guns into the island.

"The United States of America would not want for illegal guns to be entering our airports or seaports - or by any other means - and in the same way, Jamaica would not want illegal guns coming into our country. We have always been united against illegal weapons entering our country. There is no need for us to worry about that, only to continue our serious monitoring of our borders, our airports and our seaports," Simpson Miller said.

"I was very satisfied with the discussions that I had in that area with the president," she added.

Simpson Miller's comments are in stark contrast to views expressed by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who, in 2010, accused Washington of not doing enough to stem the flow of guns into the island.

"The overwhelming majority of guns coming into Jamaica are of United States manufacture," Golding said.

"The inflow of guns into Jamaica is what facilitates most of the murders that are committed. The security forces recover, on average, 600 guns each year. We suspect that a greater number enter the island each year, creating an ever-increasing arsenal of illegal weapons, snuffing out lives with callous brutality," Golding told Parliament in 2010.




Yesterday, President Obama said Jamaica, historically, has had "a very capable security effort". He said, however, that "strains are being placed on Jamaica, just as is true across the Caribbean, as the transnational drug trade moves to try to expand its reach where it feels displaced from other areas.

"Strengthening our corporation, making sure that training, equipment, coordination, intelligence - that we are in sync Ö - I think is very important, and I look forward to our efforts there as well," Obama said.