Guns alone don’t kill people; it’s the culture of violence that needs changing, says Bunting
By: Anthony Lewis | Jamaica Observer
August 03, 2015
MONTEGO BAY, St James — National Security Minister Peter Bunting believes that controlling the flow of guns into Jamaica will not, by itself, solve the country’s crime problem. What is needed, as well, is a change in the culture of violence.
“Guns alone don’t kill people,” Bunting told a forum in Montego Bay last Thursday evening staged by Generation 2000, the youth affiliate of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party.
Bunting argued that “although the US has more guns per capita than any other country in the world, they have a low average murder rate — about four per 100,000. So, it is the culture of violence that we will have to deal with”.
In an apparent effort to strengthen his argument, Bunting added: “If you don’t remove the culture of violence, even if you remove all the guns, people would start cutting each other’s throats, or chopping up each other with machetes.
“We have to deal with the culture of violence where you have a domestic dispute and it ends up in a quadruple murder. That is what we have to deal with,” the minister insisted.
Bunting was responding to a suggestion from the floor made by Wayne Erskine that the national security ministry and the police place greater focus on the country’s borders in their effort to stem the inflow of guns and ammunition.
“So, instead of having the police running around trying to chase down one or two guns, try to lock it down from the points of entry and that, in my view, to some extent, will curtail the number of ammunition available to persons in the streets,” Erskine said.
“Because, one of the major things the proceeds of the lottery scam go towards is that. These young people, the moment they find themselves with an additional $500,000, they go and get some extra guns before they even add on a room to their homes,” Erskine added.
But Bunting said that even though that strategy has been tried, there are challenges, among them the large coastal border that the Coast Guard has to monitor and the easy access to guns in the United States.
He reminded the audience of a planned donation of 17 new patrol boats from the US Government first reported by the Jamaica Observer in June this year.
The Observer story had revealed that 10 27-foot patrol vessels will be presented to the Police Marine Division, along with a boat maintenance facility at its Kingston headquarters, maintenance tools, and training.
Delivery of those boats, the US Embassy in Kingston said, is expected in August.
The Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard will receive seven 37-foot patrol vessels either late this year or early 2016.
The boats are costing the American Government US$6.4 million. Funding, the US Embassy said, is being provided through the Department of State’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section, and the US Department of Defense.
“These will be able to patrol the Jamaican coast, protect Jamaican coastal waters, protect fishermen, prevent drug smuggling, and prevent gun smuggling and trafficking in persons,” US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis Moreno had told the Observer.
Last Thursday’s forum was held under the theme ‘Impact of Crime on the Economy’ at the Montego Bay Community College Lecture Theatre located on Alice Eldemire Drive.