It is against this background that he wants Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo-Forte to offer the nation a explaination as to why there has been this protracted delay in signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States, which has taken the better part of three years, despite the country's worsening crisis with gun violence and an escalating murder rate.
The proposed MOU agreement would allow American intelligence and customs authorities to partner with local law enforcement to build cases against persons involved in the shipment of contraband items into the island says Jackson.
In a statement today, Mr. Jackson said it was unbelievable that a programme of assistance of this nature, which offers benefits to Jamaica in possibly stemming the flow of contrabands, particularly guns and ammunition into the country would have taken the government this long to conclude, especially so in the environment of unabated murder and against the backdrop of repeated calls from the US to conclude the agreement.
The Shadow Minister was responding to news that the Jamaican government had delayed the signing of the MOU for four years, which would have enhanced our capabilities at the ports to stem the illegal importation of illicit items to the island, including guns and other contrabands.
Moreover, the Shadow Minister is openly questioning whether the government's dithering on the US MOU has any relation to the cyber security arrangement with a private Israeli company and whether there are points of conflict between the US and the government's plan to engage the Israeli company.
Mr. Jackson said the government needs to explain the delay to the Jamaican people who continue to suffer from the poor policy options of the Andrew Holness-led administration. He said while the government dithered for four years, more and more innocent Jamaicans fell victims to gun violence, which is now spiraling out of control.
"With the best of intentions, we have been unable to stop the flow of illegal guns and ammunition into the island. It is one of the reasons why our murder rate is so high because our borders are porous and if the MOU can help halt the flow of guns, we need to know why was it delayed," Mr. Jackson said.
Based on information in the public domain, the proposed MOU agreement would allow American intelligence and customs authorities to partner with local law enforcement to build cases against persons involved in the shipment of contraband items into the island.
Mr. Jackson reasoned that the United States is Jamaica's foremost trading partner and with whom several agreements are already in existence to address national security issues such as stemming the narcotics trade and intelligence sharing. Therefore, any assistance to be derived from the MOU to secure our ports of entry should be welcomed.
"Until we have better particulars on this MOU, we can only ask for transparency. Illegal guns threaten the life of every Jamaican, and this kind of uncertainty does not guarantee security for anyone on the island," Mr. Jackson said.
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