Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Disturbing Trend At Jamaica,s Borders

The admission by a Deputy Superintendent of Police that the police are not equipped to handle coast smugglers is much very frightening and should be cause for grave concern for all Jamaicans. In recent times a disturbing trend has developed where a number of nationals from Central America, namely Costa Rica and Nicaragua, have entered Jamaica illegally.
Alarmingly, a lack of a paper trail has rendered the authorities helpless in knowing how long the Central American nationals have been staying in Jamaica given that they did not use the country’s legal ports of entry.
Undoubtedly, Jamaica’s national security is at risk in view of the fact that we already know that there is an on-going guns for drugs trade.  It well documented that in this trade Jamaica provides drugs in this lucrative business in exchange for guns. 
Despite Jamaica’s budgetary constraints, the country needs to redouble its efforts to monitor and protect its borders.  Jamaica is a relatively small island with a land area of 4,244 square miles. It has a coastline of 1,022 km or 634 miles which makes policing the border challenging but not impossible if more resources are allocated to this vital cause.  
The monitoring of a country’s borders, including territorial waters becomes more urgent as the international community is on an Ebola virus alert. The possibility exists that some virus could have entered the shores of Jamaica with the illegal entry of these men from Central America.
As a matter of fact, we are not even sure which other nationals have illegal entered our shores.  As citizens of Jamaica our health is at risk if we do not put measures in place to curtail the number of illegal migrants entering the country.
The country needs to be proactive regarding the monitoring of our borders.  There are other related issues surrounding a country with a porous and open border, such as human trafficking.
It is estimated that the global human trafficking industry is worth about $9.5 billion when estimated alongside other forms of crime that are linked to it. According to some estimates over 27 million people are enslaved in the world. Of this number 800,000 to 900, 000 are trafficked across international borders yearly.
Protecting one’s borders from the illegal movement of people, weapons and drugs is paramount to a country’s national security and economic prosperity to which we all strive for.

Wayne Campbell
waykam@yahoo.com