National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy says an increase in gun-related crimes is the result of drug-trafficking and gang violence over the past ten years in T&T. He said because of the country's geographical location T&T faced the direct effects of the illicit drug-trafficking and illegal firearms trades.
"We know full well that firearms remain a major threat to this country. These firearms fuel drug-trafficking and gang violence and other criminal activity." Sandy said. He made the statement at yesterday's launch of the inter-institutional training course on combating the illicit trafficking in firearms, ammunition, and explosives at the Police Services Training Academy, St James.
"This country has no domestic firearms manufacturing industry, yet in the past eight to ten years, police records reflect an exponential increase in gun-related crimes and the number of confiscated firearms and ammunition," he said. "This clearly identifies the need to combat the illegal trade in firearms and ammunition." The Government, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), would train military, police and law enforcement personnel in combating illicit firearms trafficking and the destruction of obsolete and confiscated arms and ammunition over the next two weeks, he said.
Sandy said efforts were also being made to strengthen the country's firearms legislation as T&T was a signatory to international and inter-American legal instruments on small arms control and firearms trafficking.A co-operation agreement with the Organisation of American States for promoting firearms marking in Latin America and the Caribbean was signed in July. The agreement entails acquisition of a firearms marking machine and capacity building to facilitate proper identification of firearms and improve the exchange of information and experiences among OAS-member states.