St. Kitts and Nevis signs firearms marking and tracing agreement

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Permanent Representative to the OAS, Her Excellency Ambassador Jacinth Henry-Martin speaking at the signing ceremony

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 17TH 2011 (CUOPM) – The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has another tool to deal with the trafficking of illegal guns into the twin-island Federation.

The Federation’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C., Her Excellency Jacinth Henry-Martin on Friday signed a firearms marking agreement.

Within the framework of the Committee of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials (CIFTA), St. Kitts and Nevis has joined Costa Rica, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Bahamas which are already in a position to benefit from the agreement.

Outlining some of the benefits of the agreement, Ambassador Henry-Martin said besides training opportunities for nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis, the agreement establishes standards for control, including tracking, as well as a basis and mechanism for information sharing between member states.

Ambassador Henry-Martin also affirmed the commitment of St. Kitts and Nevis “to protect our people, not only within our borders, but our people in the region.”

She thanked the OAS for its lead role in “harnessing the energies of Member States to synergize efforts to combat the scourge of arms trafficking and related illicit activities,” and also expressed the Federation’s appreciation to the Government of the United States for its financial support for the programme.

St. Vincent’s Ambassador to the OAS, Her Excellency, La Celia Prince; St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador to the OAS, Her Excellency Jacinth Henry-Martin; OAS Secretary General His Excellency Jose Insulza; Assistant General Secretary, His Excellency Albert Ramdin and United States State Department official, Ateven Gostner at the signing ceremony (photos courtesy of the OAS)

Also present at the ceremony was Mr. Abdullah Skerritt who has been representing the interests of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis in addressing the Special Security Concerns of the Small Island States of the Caribbean and participating in CIFTA meetings.

St. Kitts and Nevis will receive a Styliner Marking System from Schmidt Marking Systems so that all firearms in the Federation, including those imported for official use, seized for official use, confiscated, or otherwise marked for destruction can be properly catalogued. The system also includes a computer for storing and maintaining the database.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Permanent Representative to the OAS, Her Excellency Ambassador La Celia Prince also signed a similar agreement on behalf of her behalf.

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