Place equal focus on the sponsors of murder and mayhem

Friday, December 08, 2017

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We are not surprised by the news that emerged on Wednesday about the seizure at Miami International Airport of more than 100 illegal firearms and over 200 assorted rounds of ammunition destined for Jamaica.

For just three months ago in this space we had made the point that there is little doubt that there is a massive arsenal available to the criminal underworld. At the time, we were commenting on a number of gun and ammunition seizures by the security forces over the period of a few weeks. Good work, we maintained, but our point was that a lot more needed to be done if the security forces are to significantly reduce the number of illegal guns and ammunition on the streets.

Since the start of this year, the police say they have removed well over 400 illegal guns and much more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition from criminal hands.

A look at the photo of the arsenal seized in Miami suggests that the flow of deadly weapons from the United States to this country is being funded by people of means, because, as we have argued here repeatedly, these guns are not inexpensive. Many of the young, wayward scum who are using these guns to unleash terror and spill blood are in no position to afford them.

The big task facing the police, therefore, is to identify the death merchants who are funding the purchase of weapons and having them shipped to Jamaica.

One of the positive developments of the close relations between Kingston and Washington is the cooperation between local law enforcement authorities on both sides. It appears that this was not fully utilised in the case of the shipment of arms seized in Miami, as a joint effort, we believe, could have led the authorities to both the sender and intended recipient.

If that strategy was attempted and failed — as we are told that this seizure was made last month — then we stand corrected. However, that does not divest the authorities of the responsibility to make greater use of all the available tools of investigation in their quest to put away bloodthirsty killers and their equally guilty sponsors.

Given the number of individuals in police custody on illegal possession of firearm and ammunition charges, the constabulary, we hold, should have been taking more weapons off Jamaica's streets. Indeed, the excellent anti-gang work done by the police over the last few months, and which hit a high point last weekend with the arrest of 15 gangsters, will hopefully be exploited to provide information on the people who fund their illegal activities and help nab their associates.

We reiterate our suggestion that if the police are stretched, the Government should not hesitate to utilise the services of trustworthy individuals in the private sector who are skilled in the art of investigation and who are not influenced by friendships or political associations.

We also renew our appeal to decent, law-abiding Jamaicans who have knowledge of criminal activity to tell the authorities, using any of the channels that guarantee anonymity. We all must remember that “silence in the face of evil, is itself evil”.




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