A five-day Regional Sub regional workshop entitled, ‘Capacity Building and Technical Support for Firearms National Points of Contact’ successfully concluded last week in Antigua.
The workshop which is geared towards decreasing incidences of crimes involving firearms, brought together officials from senior law enforcement, legal and foreign affairs representatives and other senior public officials from CARICOM Member States, including, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis.
The capacity-building workshop assisted in developing the proficiency and competencies of regional firearms National Points of Contact (NPCs) and strengthening the capacity of participants to be able to implement effective firearms control measures in their respective countries in order to reduce arms violence in the Region.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Workshop Mr. Callixtus Joseph – Regional Crime and Security Strategy Coordinator of CARICOM IMPACS, stated that the Agency is fully committed to assisting CARICOM Member States and strengthening their capacity in reducing the scourge of armed violence in the Region.
He also urged participants to utilize the knowledge, skills, competencies and tools they have acquired during the Workshop in their daily activities to strengthen firearms controls in their respective countries. He further called on States to ensure the sustainability of National Points of Contact and establish national Firearms coordinating mechanisms or commissions as tools to advance arms control.
The workshop is an initiative of the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) and sponsored by the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).
According to reports the consequences of the illicit spread, widespread availability and trafficking of illegal firearms and ammunition are by far, the most instrumental factor contributing to the high murder rates in CARICOM countries. More than seventy percent (70%) of murders in the Region occur through the use of small arms and light weapons (SALW).