Opinion: Cash for guns

POSTED: 10/10/11 12:03 PM

It took some time, but we finally are looking at an initiative from a parliamentarian that makes sense. Jules James’ call for cash for guns project deserves at least the benefit of the doubt, though it is hard to believe that this will bring gun-violence to a full stop.
We agree however with James about one thing: every gun that is off the street is a success story. Every time a gun that was previously available is not there anymore, chances are that a conflict will be resolved with a fist fight or a screaming contest.
Involve the business community in this guns for cash program is also positive, because the business community has a lot to gain from it.
On the down side however is the fact that there are many guns on the island and that this is proof that our borders are leaking like a sieve. Where do those guns come from and how do they get onto the island? Just pointing to the fact that we have French neighbors is not only cheap; it is also a not so nice way to duck our own responsibility. Suppose the French would do the same? Everybody would keep pointing to the other, and nothing would ever be resolved.
Our points of entry are relatively simple. We have the airport, and we have the port. That’s where containers come in, and of course 1.5 million cruise passengers. How is the control at these points of entry organized? When was the last time that a gun was confiscated there?
If the answer is something like, zero over the past 25 years, we know where we have to start looking and where we have to start improving procedures and controls.
One cannot maintain that guns are easy to come by because of the open borders with the French side. At the same time, it is of course quite possible that at least some of the guns enter our territory that way.
If the government decides to establish the cash for guns policy it must at least at the same time make a coordinated effort to increase border security at the port and at the airport. The coordinated part of this effort involves consulting with French-side authorities and to make sure that similar efforts are made in Marigot and at the airport in Grand Case.

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