Caribbean needs to stem illegal trade in small arms

| 23/07/2013

(CNS): The Caribbean’s ambassador to the United Nations has said the region needs to address the small arms trade, which is causing intense violence in its communities. Speaking at the seventh general meeting of CARICOM and the UN in New York Monday, Irwin Larocque, CARICOM’s Secretary-General, said citizen security was of paramount concern as the “dimensions of the scourge of crime” increased and the region was plagued by the illegal trade in small arms. The Caribbean is a vulnerable transiting point which, he said, was wreaking havoc in communities, “terrorising neighbourhoods, claiming innocent lives, and compromising economies by undermining our investment climate and socioeconomic development efforts.”

Acknowledging that the community must do its part to help itself, he said the region has developed a targeted strategy to address the issue. The 2013 CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy was an important weapon in the Caribbean arsenal to fight the war against crime, he said, as he asked for the UN’s full support in its implementation, including through the long awaited re-opening of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Barbados.

During the recent CARICOM meeting in Trinidad, regional heads of government were urged to sign, ratify and apply the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty adopted earlier this year. It was also stated that plans to open an Interpol Liaison Office within the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and possibly transform it into a sub-directorate or regional sub-bureau would enable greater access to Interpol data bases by IMPACS. This was cited as demonstrating the international recognition of and support for the regional security architecture developed under the Fourth Pillar of the Community.

Member states also elected representatives to the newly-created Regional Integrated Ballistic Information Network (RIBIN) Board. The rising level of firearm incidents, combined with an ongoing reliance on manual traditional methods of firearms identification, has contributed a backlog of criminal cases across the CAribbean. The creation of the RIBIN will allow the region to share ballistic information making local police services better equipped to prevent and solve rising gun crimes. It will provide CARICOM states with the capacity to track guns and ammunition used in crimes and link firearms used by specific gangs and trace the connections in the organized trade in illicit guns and ammunition.

The growing crime situation for the Caribbean is being fueled by changes in the illegal drug trade. Experts believe that the Caribbean is an increasingly important transit route for drug-trafficking into the US as South American and Mexican drug cartels take advantage of the region’s economic problems and avoid the Mexican government’s crackdown on its own cartels and increased security on the US border.

According to the latest US statistics, about 9 percent of all illegal drugs that entered the country came through the Caribbean last year, about twice the rate in 2011. “The trend in recent years is that the Caribbean has re-emerged as a key drug-trafficking transit route,” said Daniel Sachs, an analyst at Control Risks, a consultancy told the UK press recently. “The security forces in these islands are woefully unprepared to respond to this evolving threat, particularly in the current debt climate.”

With cartels moving operations to the Caribbean, local gangs are supporting the drug trade and this has triggered a rise in violent crime, as guns and drugs flow into the region.

Recent media reports have also highlighted the startling increase in violence in Cayman’s Central American mainland neighbor, Honduras. San Pedro Sula, which is less than 82 miles from La Cieba, has been labled the most dangerous city in the world as a result of the number of murders in 2012 because of drug-related violence.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) threat assessment in connection with the influence of cartels in Central America and the Caribbean reported 62 clandestine air landing strips found in Honduras in 2012 and that cartels transported $4 billion worth of cocaine from Guatemala to Mexico in 2010, $1 billion more than all of Central America invested in 2010 in the fight against organized crime.

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  1. Corrections says:

    "San Pedro Sula, which isless than 82 miles from La Cieba, has been labled the most dangerous city in the world as a result of the number of murders in 2012 because of drug-related violence"

    Curious that you mention La Ceiba, which consistently has a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula and this was still the case in 2012. The gap closed quite a bit last year, mainly because La Ceiba's numbers dropped significantly from 2011, but it's still higher.

    La Ceiba is the murder capital of Honduras and has been for at least the last five years, certainly for cities over 50,000 (true story).

    La Gringa's "blogicitio" noticed this, look her up or ask around if you don't know.

    Serious advice: Avoid widely cited but bad news websites like Insight Crime, who [obsessively] insist Tegucigalpa along with San Pedro Sula are the only dangerous cities in Honduras. La Ceiba's higher murder rate has been completely overlooked on the site, and by the wider media.

    That particular site is a big problem though, they're not reporting what's happening and they have a bias towards the two big cities.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This highlights the requirement for a Caribbean coastguard or regional force to be run between territories.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Until the US gets serious about preventing the shipment of firearms from US ports, this problem will remain.

  4. "Expat" says:

    Border protection, border protection, border protection, …………….!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are we ready for the challenge??????

  5. Anonymous says:

    Couldn't they use the small arms for transplants at the new Shetty hospital? Just an idea. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands need to put in place its own coast guard to help police our borders to prevent some of these very crimes being sneaked across our borders.

    • Rorschach says:

      You HAD was called the DTF and Derek Haines and his men used to bust day A$$ left, right and center….then tings started getting a little too hot and a little too close, so Derek had to go..and when THAT didn't work, they made up this BS story about the AG getting targeted by criminal masterminds and the next thing you know, all the DTF guys are on full time "bodyguard" duty for the AG and his entire family for almost 10 YEARS…and now all you got is a bunch of overseas officers who don't even know where Dog city is, much less how to intercept drug boats…and a CoP who is more interested in hobknobbing with HE than running his police "service" and what do you have???   Free reign for the smugglers to do whatever they please…and that multi million $$$$$$$$ mosquito beater they call a helicoptor has been used exactly ONCE to intercept a drug boat…that is real GOOD value for money…