US must do more to stop arming drug trade, says Jamaican daily

MEXICO CITY, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Latin American and Caribbean countries go great lengths to combat the illegal narcotics trade driven largely by the U.S. consumer market, yet the United States has made no real effort to stem the flow of weapons to drug traffickers, a recent editorial published on the Jamaica Observer said.

"There has long been a feeling in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean and Latin America, that while our countries make great sacrifices to assist the United States in its war on drugs, there is nothing even close to reciprocity on the part of our rich and powerful northern neighbour in controlling its illicit export of guns and ammunition," said the daily.

Cross-border cooperation between regional and U.S. authorities consistently leads to sizeable drug busts, but the lucrative trade continues to flourish relatively unchecked thanks to a steady supply of firearms and armaments, the daily noted.

"Not just in Jamaica but throughout the Americas, the gun is the weapon of choice for criminals. In the great majority of cases, the U.S.A. is the original source of guns and ammunition," the daily said.

In an address to the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 21, Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness called on the United States to do more to curb weapons smuggling.

"In the same way that a war on drugs is being prosecuted, in which we have been faithful partners in policing what comes through our waters or leaves our shores, there now needs to be a 'war on guns'," Holness said.

"Jamaica does not manufacture guns, but our population suffers from the effects of widely available guns. The countries that manufacture weapons that are available to the public must implement stronger measures to ensure that those weapons do not end up on streets and in the hands of people for whom they were not intended," said Holness.

"In the same way there is concern about illegal drugs on the streets of the rich countries, there must be concern about guns on the streets of developing countries like Jamaica," he added.