Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called for tough action against the illicit drugs and firearms trade, in her recent address to the 65th meeting of United Nations General Assembly in New York.
She suggested that the UN’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) be used to stop the trade in illegal firearms and that the International Criminal Court (ICC) be empowered to try drug-traffickers.
She promised that Trinidad and Tobago would move a motion on “women, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation” at the Assembly’s first committee on internal peace and security.
The prime minister said CARICOM governments are concerned about the proliferation of illegal small arms and light weapons.
“In our attempts at addressing this problem, we have had to divert financial resources, which could have otherwise been used for economic and social development,” she said.
“Additionally, we have observed an increase in gang-related violence, homicides, the illegal narcotics trade and organized crime,” Persad-Bissessar stated.
Persad-Bissessar said the origin of the illicit trade in these weapons lies beyond national borders and so needs a global response.
The prime minister also called on the international community – including multi-national lending agencies – to play a greater role in assisting Trinidad and Tobago and small-island states to deal with poverty eradication and ensure political stability.
“The international community must do more to deal with the economic plight of most of its members,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar, who is the chair of the Commonwealth said Trinidad and Tobago would move to promote co-operation between the UN and the Commonwealth to facilitate measures to provide development financing on a predictable manner to developing countries.