Cablegate: Firearms Smuggling Into Jamaica
DE RUEHKG #0172/01 0572001
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 262001Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5988
INFO RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN 7457
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 2377
RUEHGR/AMEMBASSY GRENADA 0037
RUEHBH/AMEMBASSY NASSAU 2587
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN 5157
RUEADAT/BUREAU OF ATF WASHINGTON DC
RUEPINS/HQ USICE WASH DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINGSTON 000172
STATE FOR ISN/ECC (NJOHANSON); PM/WRA; PM/DTC; INL/LP
(BOZZOLO) AND WHA/CAR (TILGHMAN), DS/IP/WHA, DS/IP/ITA,
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC JM KCRM PREL
SUBJECT: FIREARMS SMUGGLING INTO JAMAICA
REF: A. (A) KINGSTON 47
B. (B) NASSAU 141
C. AND (C) STATE 017705
1. (U) This is an action message. Please see paras five and
six. Summary: Ref (A) reported on a January 11 meeting
between the Ambassador and Minister of National Security
Derrick Smith. During that meeting, MNS Permanent Secretary
(PS) Gilbert Scott voiced concern about illegal firearms
entering Jamaica from the U.S. Refs (B) and (C) provided
embassy officials with a good reason to revisit this issue
with the Ministry. End summary.
2. (U) On February 25, the Charge, NAS Acting Director
(NASDIR), ICE Attache and the Regional Security Officer
called on MNS officials Gilbert Scott and Lincoln Allen
primarily to discuss their concern about illegal firearms.
The Charge opened the meeting by explaining that we were
prepared to explore the firearms issue from the standpoint of
what the USG could offer the GOJ to help them address the
problem. The Charge explained that NASDIR would discuss
options flowing out of the December seminar in Nassau on the
CARICOM ) U.S. Partnership to Combat Illicit Trafficking in
Arms. The ICE Attache would share his future plans to work
with the GOJ on operations which would target arms
3. (U) The Charge explained that, in the United States,
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has primary
responsibility for interdicting goods being smuggled into and
out of the U.S. He asked the Permanent Secretary who in
Jamaica has that responsibility. Scott replied that it falls
principally to Customs, and specifically to the Contraband
Enforcement Team (CET). He went on to say there is a Port
Security bill pending in parliament that would strengthen the
Ministry of National Security's (MNS) role. If passed, the
MNS would be responsible for establishing uniform security
procedures and monitoring their implementation.
4. (U) The NASDIR outlined the following six USG assistance
options contained in reftels (B) and (C): stockpile
destruction; physical security and stockpile management;
tracing requests; export control and related border security
assistance; end-user checks; and law enforcement training. A
brief description of each option was provided and NASDIR left
a non-paper with Allen briefly explaining the options. The
Ministry was asked to contact the NASDIR following further
study of what was available.
5. (U) With regard to stockpile destruction, NASDIR noted
that the new Police Commissioner, Adm. Hardley Lewin, had
destroyed a quantity of firearms since assuming that
position. PS Scott advised that the GOJ experienced a major
obstacle. In the past, Caribbean Casting had smelted down
the firearms. They went out of business. The GOJ was
finally able to get the smelting done by the Trinidad Cement
Company in Kingston. However, their facility was small and
the process was very time consuming. Scott wondered whether
a facility exists in the U.S. where this could be done.
Comment: It is likely that many of the island nations of the
Caribbean face a similar problem. Embassy would like to know
if a facility exists in the Miami area or in Puerto Rico that
could accommodate destruction of firearms. End Comment.
6. (U) On the subject of ATF,s eTrace system, NASDIR
commented that ATF had provided a system which has been
located at the National Intelligence Bureau since 2004.
NASDIR confirmed that it was still functioning, but was
unsure whether this is the most modern version of the system.
Embassy would appreciate information from ATF as to whether
the existing system is in fact eTrace.
7. (U) With respect to end-user checks, the Regional
Security Officer offered to investigate whether the &Blue
Lantern8 program is conducting checks on transfers of
firearms to Jamaica. Finally, regarding ILEA training, the
NASDIR said that clarification provided earlier concerning
the entity in Jamaica responsible for interdicting firearms
was useful in terms of identifying who would benefit from
possible future training.
8. (U) Scott indicated that Jamaica could use firearms
detection devices, particularly x-ray scanning devices.
NASDIR noted that, in the past, NAS had provided the CET with
some detection equipment, and he would look into whether such
items could be used for firearms detection. Comment: Due a
reduction in INCLE funding for Jamaica, it may be impossible
to provide additional detection equipment. End Comment.
9. (U) The PS remarked that these options seemed to only
attack the firearms problem from the demand side. He
wondered about the supply side (meaning measures the U.S.
could adopt to try to stop the flow of illegal firearms form
the U.S. NASDIR explained U.S. legal constraints with
respect to legitimate purchases of firearms in the U.S. and
pointed to the problem that, once legally purchased, firearms
could then be smuggled into Jamaica via container shipments,
etc. Scott wondered why the USG could not scan outgoing
shipments to Jamaica.
10. (SBU) At this point, the ICE Attache informed Scott that
his office would be quite useful in disrupting firearms
trafficking. The Attache advised that, once his office in
Kingston was fully staffed, ICE would be working with
Jamaican authorities on undercover operations and controlled
deliveries. Scott said he found that very encouraging.
11. (SBU) Comment: Firearms smuggled into Jamaica from the
U.S. has been a perennial complaint by the GOJ. Reducing the
supply of illegal firearms in Jamaica is seen by the GOJ as a
critical if the government is to reduce violent crime on the
island. The work planned by ICE will have an important
impact on the Jamaican government s perception of how
cooperative the USG can be on this issue. Previously, the
focus of such cooperation was on interdiction of illicit
drugs destined to the U.S. With respect to the six options
coming out of the CARICOM seminar, we expect there will be
further discussions to define specific requests by the GOJ
for assistance. This subject also will be discussed with the
Commissioner of Police at the earliest opportunity. In the
meantime, however, the embassy could appreciate information
requested in paragraphs five and six.