CARICOM Security Agency Launches Weapons Control Initiative

Responding to the rate of violent crimes across the 15-member group of Caribbean countries, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) has partnered with the Canadian-based NGO Project Ploughshares, the Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies- St Augustine, and various regional civil society organizations to launch an initiative aimed at reducing gun use.

The project intended to run for three years will be undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Counselor from the High Commission of Canada Laurent Morel-a-l’Huissier expressed concern that 60% of gun crime victims were under the age of 35. He also explained that approximately 12 million Trinidad and Tobago dollars would be provided through the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program of the government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Lynne Anne Williams, Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS thanked Canada for its continuous support and echoed Morel-a-l’Huissier’s concern about the involvement of young people in armed violence. She also lamented their disproportionate representation as victims as well as perpetrators. Describing the Caribbean Community as “severely challenged” on this issue, she explained that “no country in the Region had escaped the effects of the crippling reality which was weakening prospects for prosperity.”

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister, Brigadier John Sandy also described the project as a “meaningful step in the ongoing efforts in the Caribbean Community to control and reduce crime in all its jurisdictions.” Chairman of the CARICOM Council for National Security and Law enforcement (CONSLE) Dr. Errol Cort said that the project responds to the critical needs and priorities of CARICOM, adding that “When a project is focused on the expressed needs of member states it strengthens their commitment, thereby providing greater likelihood of long term sustainability.”

CARICOM officials said that the initiative is designed to strengthen the capacity of officials at regional and national levels by providing training, technical assistance, research and a much need infrastructural upgrade.

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