Caribbean leaders committed to combat weapons trade

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 7TH 2011 (CUOPM) – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders say they are fully committed to efforts aimed at combating and eradicating the proliferation of and the illicit trade in small and light weapons and ammunition. In a Declaration issued at the end of their annual summit in St. Kitts and Nevis, under the chairmanship of St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, the regional governments said that they were also committed to ensuring the region’s full and active participation in regional and international meetings related to the issue of small arms including the 2012 Review of the 2001 Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects, and the 2012 United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty.

Caribbean Heads of Government meeting in Plenary Session at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort for the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Heads of Government Conference (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

The leaders recall that security has been established as the “Fourth Pillar of the Community” and the statement issued at the 2008 special meeting on all aspects of crime and violence in the region.

They said they strongly deplore the “ease of access to illicit small arms and light weapons and ammunition, particularly given that the region does not manufacture, export or re-export these weapons, nor import them on a large scale” and that a “comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach is necessary to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and ammunition.”

The regional countries said that they are committed to implementing “all necessary actions at the national and regional level” to deal with the situation as well as “take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the 2001 Programme of Action to Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, including through the development and implementation of national action plans to combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.”

They said they would empower national and regional security entities, with the necessary capacities to combat the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, as well as other elements of transnational organized crime, including in the areas of border control, intelligence gathering, and forensic analysis.

They have also pledged to work together in enhancing the management and security of small arms and light weapons and ammunition stockpiles, “including the identification and destruction of surplus.”

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