Small arms control training workshop opens in Port of Spain

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — The Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS) is hosting a three-day regional training of trainers workshop on the International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) and its assessment tool at its headquarters in Port of Spain.

The workshop is a joint initiative of CARICOM IMPACS and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNDIR) designed to build capacity in the region.

The ISACS assessment tool, developed by UNIDIR, provides clear, practical and comprehensive guidance to practitioners and policymakers on fundamental aspects of firearms control based on UN agreements, which CARICOM member states are committed to. The ISACS-AT is a powerful means of assisting member states in strengthening firearms controls.

Speaking at the opening, Francis Forbes, executive director, CARICOM IMPACS, noted that the use of illicit arms and ammunition bore a direct economic cost to CARICOM member states — explaining that the impact and negative consequences of firearms and ammunition is a “financial drain on annual budgets.”

He further noted that “effective controls such as the ISACS Assessment Tool are vital in assisting states in developing and implementing targeted firearms control programmes and policies.”

The coordinator of the ISACS Inter-Agency Support Unit at the United Nations, Dr Patrick McCarthy, thanked CARICOM IMPACS for hosting the workshop in the Caribbean region, to train trainers on the use of the ISACS assessment tool. McCarthy also commended CARICOM and the government of Trinidad and Tobago for their active and constructive engagement in the ongoing UN process to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

Folade Mutota, chairperson, Caribbean Coalition for Development and the Reduction of Armed Violence (CDRAV), congratulated CARICOM IMPACS on its participatory approach to policy making and noted that the role of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in policy development, programme design, and project implementation is being mainstreamed globally. Mutota stated that mainstreaming civil society participation in decision-making is welcomed and should be practiced by all governments and intergovernmental organisations.

Himayu Shiotani of UNIDIR also expressed appreciation to CARICOM IMPACS for hosting the third regional workshop of its kind following Southeast Europe and Latin America. The workshop in the Caribbean with CARICOM IMPACS will be followed by three regional workshops in Africa, Middle East and Asia. Shiotani thanked the participants for the commitment to engage with the ISACS and the ISACS assessment tool and expressed interest to build on this workshop to further examine the use of the standards to strengthen the controls over illicit trade on small arms and light weapons (SALW) and all its aspects in the region.

This collaboration between CARICOM IMPACS and UNIDIR represents another tier of CARICOM IMPACS’ on-going efforts and initiatives to assist member states in implementing gun control. Guns are used in more than 70% of murders in CARICOM.

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