National Security Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, says the expansion of the illicit drug trade allows traffickers to smuggle more weapons into Jamaica.

He was also speaking at the 37th International Drug Enforcement Conference in Montego Bay, St. James, on Tuesday.

Dr. Chang highlighted the critical link between the illicit drug trade and the illicit firearms trade, which is the other major challenge that currently confronts Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.

Dr. Chang said these illicit activities continue to negatively impact public health, public safety, and the general well-being of Jamaicans.

The National Security Minister stated that the adaptive and ever-changing nature of the illicit drug trade requires a comprehensive, balanced, multidisciplinary, transnational, and evidence-based response.

He said coming together to strengthen and reinforce our efforts against this perennial problem is therefore critical, and the staging of this conference is timely.

Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of National Security.

Dr. Chang further told the conference that the Government of Jamaica was delighted to co-host the event in collaboration with the US, given both countries long and fruitful partnership.

According to him, together with our regional and hemispheric partners, we continue to advance efforts to combat the illicit drug trade and other forms of transnational crimes that plague our region.