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CARICOM concerned over illegal guns

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Eleven CARICOM States reported more than 2,000 homicides last year, 2000 illegal guns seized and a gang membership of more than 35,000 and growing,

This was revealed by Francis Forbes, executive director of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

He was at the time speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day Regional Technical Workshop on Implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which was recently held at the Hilton Trinidad.

It was the fourth workshop on the treaty; the other two were held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The focus is technical support for implementation.

He said last year there were 2,143 homicides committed in 11 CARICOM States and approximately 70 percent were committed by small arms and light weapons.

He also reported that 1,885 illegal guns were seized during the same period.

“The fact that between 2006 and 2013, law enforcement recovered 16,162 illegal firearms in these very same countries is more than cause for concern,” he said.

Forbes reported that gang membership is now estimated to be at least 35,000 and growing across Caricom States.

He said that during a workshop at the United Nations Headquarters in New York recently, the representative of The Bahamas, representing 14 CARICOM countries noted the “devastation and havoc” being inflicted upon innocent citizens by the illicit trade in firearms and ammunition.

The IMPACS director also noted that of the 14 CARICOM signatories to the ATT as at June 3, 2014, only six members have ratified; Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago.

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