While the revelations of large weapons and ammunition finds at various entry points by the security forces are cause for celebration they also leave many questions unanswered.
Even as I say kudos to the security forces, I cannot shake the uneasy feeling I have and the knot in my throat from thinking that the caches found may represent what the smugglers want to give to authorities as they slip larger quantities of weapons right past their noses.
In addition to that, I must again raise the question why?
Why are the security forces unable to set up sting operations to nab whoever comes to claim the illicit consignments?
Why can’t the police and military intelligence coordinate with their American counterparts to stop the flow of American guns and ammunition into the Island?
It is a well-documented fact that drug cartels have used this time-tested strategy to divert attention away while they pass huge amounts of contraband undetected.
If Jamaican authorities are to have real success in this fight it has to think two steps ahead of the criminal networks operating bi-costally in furtherance of crime on the Island.
The security forces cannot allow itself to be lured down rabbit holes chasing after lures intended to distract from the real prize.
We hear the very germane question all the time, where do these poor urban kids get money to purchase these sophisticated weapons and seemingly endless supplies of ammunition?
The answers are staring us all in the face. There are Jamaicans living in the United States who are actively sending these weapons and ammunition back into Jamaica in many cases using ingenious methods to avoid detection.
The methodologies being employed by criminals in furtherance of their objectives are increasingly ingenious.
With the limited training, expertise, resources, and corruption within the security forces, Jamaica is at a distinct disadvantage.
I cannot shake the feeling we are chasing the pennies while missing the dollars.
I understand how sizeable finds can be a cause of euphoria for the men and women in the field. In fact, when I served I was extremely ecstatic when I removed a single gun from the streets.
Nevertheless, those finds must represent the beginning of investigations, not the end.
In the latest find police revealed that they arrested one person. The investigation must now begin in earnest. It should not be about running To the nearest microphone but should be centered now on securing a warrant for this suspect’s cellphone with a view to seeing who he has been talking to overseas in recent times and what are the contents of those conversations.
The idea that someone can ship a container out of the United States or any other country for that matter without exposing him or herself substantially is a concept which eludes me.
I fundamentally believe Jamaican authorities are not doing nearly enough to follow up on these shipments with law enforcement overseas with a view to identifying those who send guns ammunition and other contraband into the country.
These cases are wonderful opportunities for the Jamaican police to demonstrate that they are capable of investigating crimes.
Bringing those responsible to justice wherever they are is the greatest deterrent to those involved in these illicit practices.
Failing which, the police will be left celebrating these finds, the lion’s share of the illicit activities will continue and the nation will continue to be inundated with illegal guns.