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Tighter regulation needed of small weapons, Jamaica tells General Assembly

Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh of Jamaica
Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh of Jamaica

Tighter regulation needed of small weapons, Jamaica tells General Assembly

An international regime is needed to regulate the sale and transfer of small and light weapons, Jamaica’s Deputy Prime Minister told the General Assembly’s annual general debate today.

“Jamaica, like its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) partners, continues to face severe threats to our long-term socio-economic development from the illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, small arms and light weapons and ammunition,” Kenneth Baugh said.

Mr. Baugh said progress on the issue would not be possible without international regulation, and urged Member States to build on existing accords to ensure further regulation is implemented.

He added that although Jamaica is taking internal measures to combat organized crime, they would not be successful without international support.

“We have achieved marked reductions in crime and criminal activities over the past year with our multi-faceted strategy to stem the problems, as well as through the implementation of social intervention and social transformation initiatives to stem the problem of crime and violence.

“We firmly believe, however, that we will not see the full impact of these efforts without an international regime that regulates the sale and transfer of conventional weapons,” he said.

Mr. Baugh said Jamaica is committed to ensuring that next year’s UN conference on the arms trade treaty results in a more comprehensive, transparent and legally binding agreement.

Beyond the issue of organized crime, Mr. Baugh spoke of the need for UN Member States to honour their aid commitments to developing countries and to re-engage in trade negotiations, as this is the only way to achieve sustainable economic progress for developing countries.

“Developing countries like ours have undertaken painful adjustments to achieve fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability within an open economy.

“Unfortunately, development aid and assistance to developing countries continue to fall short of the agreed goal of 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI), as some of our developed partners fail to meet their commitments,” he said.

He also noted that re-engagement in the Doha Development Round trade negotiations – the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks which have been stalled since 2008 – is crucial to “usher in a new era of multilateral trade relations.”

“[Negotiations] must take into account the preservation of policy space for developing countries in areas which are integral to our ability to build competitiveness and trade capacity. We remain hopeful that at the 8th Ministerial Conference in December of this year we will consider a package of measures as the basis for a more balanced trade regime,” he said, referring to the next WTO ministerial conference, which will be held in Geneva.

In its contribution to the Assembly’s general debate the Bahamas also stressed the need for global regulation of the trade in conventional small arms.

“The Bahamas is supportive of a strong, effective and non-discriminatory Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and welcomes the inclusion of the category of small arms and ammunition within the scope of a future ATT and we express the hope that the instrument would also provide for an effective implementation regime,” said Brent Symonette, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

He also stressed that migration has been a positive force for development across the world, and welcomed increased cooperation on international migration and development.

“We believe that proper cooperation can help to ensure that migration occurs through safe and regulated channels to the benefit of both the migrant and receiving States like the Bahamas.”

The country had benefited from migrants’ contributions in education, health care, tourism and financial services, he said.

The Bahamas would also play a constructive role in the process leading up to the second High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development to be held in the General Assembly in 2013, he noted.