By Leroy Smith
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Periodic destruction and effective stockpile management practices are the key elements in the control of small arms and armed violence reduction.
Further, the destruction of surplus, confiscated and obsolete weapons and ammunition is the most effective means of ensuring that those weapons do not find its way back on the streets or be diverted to criminal activities and network.
This is the view of Julia Solomon, Senior Program Officer, Public Program of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).
The occasion was the handing over of the Hydraulic Shears and Small Arms and Ammunition burning tank by the UNLIREC to the Government of Guyana held at the Police Headquarters at Eve Leary in Georgetown on Thursday, January 23.
The Hydraulic Shears will be managed by the Guyana Police Force since that agency has more use for it with the number of firearms to be destroyed while the Guyana Defense Force will manage the Small Arms and Ammunition Burning Tank.
Solomon pointed out that it remains unfortunate that in Latin America and the Caribbean lingers the highest homicide and violence rate in the world with nearly 80% of these acts are committed with the use of firearms either trafficked illegally across borders or stolen from private and government stockpiles.
The two pieces of equipment for which ranks of the GDF and GPF have already received training to operate also came with a complementary donation of forty international standard padlocks which would aid in the protection of the stockpiling at the various facilities in an effort to prevent the theft of firearms and ammunition or their diversion to illicit actors, Solomon added in her remarks.
The destruction of obsolete and illegal weapons and ammunition will also solve the problem of unavailability of space to stockpile and better manage operational weapons used by the government forces, it was also noted.
Meanwhile, United States Ambassador Brent Hardt said that the United States was indeed pleased that the Government of Guyana has approved a national action plan to assist with the firearm destruction and stockpile management while expressing confidence that the training will be something that will be ongoing as well as the collaboration.
He said that one of the most important things was the decision to have persons trained in the maintenance and up keeping of the machines since it is very vital to ensure that equipment such as the two donated are continuously working so that they can serve their purposes.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee reiterated that everything necessary must be done to get illegal firearms off the streets while pointing to the police operation on Wednesday that saw the removal of firearms and explosives being found in the possession of teenagers.
He said a close eye must be kept on those who traffic firearms and while there is the destruction, there must be greater institutional control which examine the regulations pertaining to the issuance of firearms.