#TheWardPost Illicit arms trafficking Jamaica gun problem US-Jamaica relations

Jamaica’s Gun Problem

Jamaica’s Gun Problem

Earl Moxam’s Commentary

Earl Moxam, Radio Jamaica

On Sunday, September 19, 2021, Earl Moxam, host of Radio Jamaica’s weekly review show, That’s a Rap, did a commentary on the longstanding problem of guns being smuggled into Jamaica and fueling the country’s high murder rate.  Please click the link below to listen Earl Moxam’s commentary.



From the Editor of The Ward Post:

Amb. Curtis Ward

(22 September 2021) — I fully agree with the tenet of Earl Moxam’s commentary. No U.S. government has done near enough to staunch the illicit trafficking in guns to Jamaica. Despite the many entreaties made by respective Jamaican governments to U.S. governments over several decades, there has been no appropriate response.

Therefore, if we want to stop the flow of illicit firearms into Jamaica the primary responsibility rests squarely with the Jamaican government of the day.

I share below my own perspectives on the subject of the illicit trafficking in guns to Jamaica and the responsibility of the Jamaican government to secure the nation. I included these few words in a speech I gave in Jamaica, on October 26, 2013, on “Citizen Responsibility and Nation-building.”

“Each time I read a report about the police seizing an illegal firearm, I am encouraged; it’s one less gun on the street.  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.  We blame the United States for not doing enough to stop the flow of illegal guns to our shore.  While the U.S. 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.  The U.S. 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.

“Even as we seek the cooperation and collaboration of the United States, we must also look to any other third country from which these firearms originate to work with us.  We must seek to build our capacity to improve our maritime and border security to prevent illegal trafficking of firearms to our shore.  Yes, the United States has an interest in assisting us, but not the responsibility to stop the weapons from coming here.  The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, a U.S.-funded partnership program, is a starting point for addressing this problem, but it is incumbent on the Jamaican government to act proactively and put together the necessary programs.  We should not wait for the United States to set the priorities for us.  We must set them for ourselves. We must take responsibility for nation-building and welcome international partners who share our objectives and our priorities.

“I do not wish to belabor this point, but I am troubled when we cannot guarantee a relatively safe and secure environment for all of Jamaica; a safe and secure environment to live and to raise our children; a safe and secure environment in which to conduct business activities; a safe and secure environment in which Jamaican tourism can grow and flourish.”

Excerpted from Keynote address by Ambassador Curtis A. Ward at the St. James Police Civic Committee – 3rd Annual Police Ball, Montego Bay Convention Centre, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 26 October 2013.

Entire speech “Citizen Responsibility and Nation-building” is available at: http://www.curtiswardassociates.com/?p=635 .

© 2021 Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post

About the author

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward

Ambassador Curtis A. Ward is a former Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations with Special Responsibility for Security Council Affairs (1999-2002) serving on the UN Security Council for two years. He served three years as Expert Adviser to the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee. He is an Attorney-at-Law and International Consultant with extensive knowledge and experience in national and international legal and policy frameworks for effective implementation of United Nations (UN) and other international anti-terrorism mandates; the legal and administrative requirements to effectively implement and enforce anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT); extensive knowledge of the legal and regulatory requirements for effective implementation and enforcement of United Nations multilateral and U.S.-imposed unilateral sanctions; and the imperatives for Rule of Law and governance. He is a geopolitical and international security analyst, and a human rights, democracy, and anticorruption advocate.


Leave a Comment