UNLIREC and Government of Barbados promote regional small arms control  in the Caribbean

The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affair’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Barbados, conducted a two-day technical workshop from 23-24 October 2012 to mark the launching of the next phase of UNLIREC´s Assistance Package for Caribbean States on Firearms and Ammunition Stockpile Management and Destruction. Workshop participants included representatives of the governments of the Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the CARICOM Crime and Security Implementation Agency.

In the opening session of the workshop UNLIREC´s Public Security Programme Coordinator William Godnick encouraged participants to ¨consider stockpile management and weapons and ammunition destruction planning as integral parts of public security strategies.¨

Following the workshop, UNLIREC technical advisers will continue to support Caribbean governments in undertaking national baseline assessments, developing national action plans and assisting in the implementation of concrete measures to improve stockpile management practices and destroy surplus, obsolete and confiscated firearm and ammunition. UNLIREC technical assistance is based on the UN International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and the UN International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG).

During the closing session of the workshop Barbados Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin called for a “mix of measures to provide a coherent strategy” to address the problem of firearm crime including inter alia “comprehensive and robust legislation, strict licensing arrangements and regulation and oversight arrangements for imports and exports”. He also highlighted UNLIREC’s Assistance Package as having “considerable relevance to the region at this time.”

To date, UNLIREC, in collaboration with nine Caribbean governments, has enhanced security in 99 stockpile facilities, destroyed 6,526 firearms and over 6.75 tonnes of ammunition and trained an important number of Caribbean officials in international standards for weapons and ammunition destruction. UNLIREC´s Firearms Destruction and Stockpile Management Assistance Package receives financial support from the United States Department of State’s Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement and Bureau for International Security and Nonproliferation.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org.) Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms. Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer at (cowl@unlirec.org).

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