New unit established to clamp down on trafficking of firearms, ammo

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A new unit has been established by Home Affairs minister, Robeson Benn to clamp down on the trafficking of firearms and ammunition through a National Action Plan for the Firearms Roadmap.

The unit referred to a national team is said to have collectively agreed that the Firearms Act along with the relevant norms and regulation should be updated.

Additionally, the National Action Plan for the firearms roadmap will see top priorities being given to the developing and the enhancement of training in surveillance firearms detection at the port and border crossings, creating and enhancing domestic software and e-platforms to facilitate intelligence gathering, information exchange among national and regional law enforcement entities and crime mapping, and to create/update national weapons inventories.

Benn and research officer, Jasmin Louisy had participated in a virtual meeting with the United Nations Seventh Biennial Meeting of States on the programme of action in attempts to prevent, combat and eradicate illicit trade of small arms and light weapons.

A joint side event by UNLIREC and the United Nations Development Programme’s South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNDP SEESAC) saw the implementation of two regional documents – the Western Balkans Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Control Roadmap and the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

Guyana, he said has committed to the Development for the Roadmap for implementing the Caribbean Priority Actions on the Illicit Proliferation of Firearms and Ammunition across the Caribbean in a sustainable manner by 2030.

They include implementing the Regional Roadmap for Addressing Caribbean Priority Actions on the Illicit Proliferation of Firearms and Ammunition across the Caribbean by 2030; collaboration with regional stakeholders such as the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to facilitate training and capacity building for Member States and collaboration with international stakeholders such as the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) who deal with transnational organised crime.

In April of this year, the minister had led a virtual meeting between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states and representatives of the United States Bureau of ATF and HSI in regards to firearms trafficking in the CARICOM region, where it was reviewed and approaches to urgently deal with the issue and its related manifestations were identified.

Benn stated that Guyana appreciates the opportunity to participate in this significant initiative, and encourages other Caribbean countries to get on board.
The Caribbean Firearms Roadmap serves as a renewed effort in curbing gun crime in the Caribbean.

Members of this newly constructed unit are Permanent Secretary, Mae Toussaint Jr Thomas; Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum; Research Officer and The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC)’s Focal Point, Jasmin Louisy; Foreign Service Officer II at the Foreign Affairs Ministry; Sosheena Parmanand, Inspector of Police at the Criminal Investigation Department, Richard Frank, Assistant Superintendent at the Immigration Department, Troy Benn; Officer Commanding Ordinance at the Guyana Defense Force, Captain Stephen Castor; Group Leader at the Customs Authority, Ramond Young, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Natasha Backer, and Technical Officer at the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, Ron Marks.