From 6 to 8 December 2022, officials from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Saint Kitts and Nevis Defence Force participated in the virtual Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) training workshop.
Through presentations and practical exercises, participants were introduced to international standards and best practices in stockpile management, physical security and stockpile management, marking and recordkeeping as well as firearms and ammunition destruction procedures.
The PSSM training workshop forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC under the ‘Preventing Diversion of Conventional Arms and Ammunition in the Caribbean’ project, funded by the United States of America. This specialized workshop aims at strengthening States’ capacities, on this occasion in St. Kitts and Nevis, to reinforce national mechanisms to reduce and prevent the diversion of conventional weapons and ammunition and improve security sector forces’ capacities in securing stockpile facilities.
It should be noted that this workshop contributes to Goal 4 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, entitled ‘Systematically decrease the risk of diversion of firearms and ammunition from government- and non-government-owned arsenals’, thus aiding regional efforts to prevent illicit trafficking in firearms and ammunition and armed violence in the Caribbean.
29 November 2022 – For the second consecutive year, representatives from the Caribbean met to discuss progress in the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap. This meeting was organized by the United Nations Regional Center for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to discuss progress in its implementation during this year.. Over 50 representatives from beneficiary Caribbean States, partners and the donor community participated in this online event to take stock of the progress made to date.
The Roadmap aims to accelerate and bolster States’ efforts to prevent and combat the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons among the 15 CARICOM States and the Dominican Republic. The Roadmap serves as a guiding document for commonly agreed levels of performance at the strategic, policy and operational levels. It was developed in 2019 under the auspices of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America and formally adopted in October 2020.
It is worth noting that during 2022 the 16 States participating in the Roadmap made significant efforts; seven of them: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Haiti, completed and formally approved their National Action Plans on firearms; and are now beginning its implementation. In addition, five States – Barbados, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago-, completed the drafting process.
These Plans outline States priorities in combating the illicit trafficking in firearms and ammunition and help to track progress by serving as a monitoring and tracking tool. Remaining States are also well on their way to progressing towards formal adoption of these Action Plans and thus contributing to enhanced firearms control in the region. Close to USD5 million has been invested in the region over the past three years allowing the delivery of over 200 activities designed to support the four Goals of the Roadmap.
The annual meeting was preceded by preparatory exchanges, organized by UNLIREC and CARICOM IMPACS – as the co-custodians and main implementing partners of the Caribbean Roadmap. The first included the different key implementing partners on the Roadmap, namely the UN Development Programme, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization, the Organization of American States, INTERPOL, and Small Arms Survey, to inform and collaborate on upcoming partner activities in support of the Roadmap. While the second was aimed at the donor community, including Germany, Canada, the United States , the European Union, and the United Kingdom that provides essential financial support to partners and beneficiary States.
The Roadmap takes into consideration the provisions included in the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects. Its implementation also contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Goal 16 and target 16.4 which seeks to significantly reduce illicit arms flows.
From 9 to 25 November 2022, authorities from Dominica were trained in Interdicting Small Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Components (ISAAPC) in a course delivered by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).
Twenty-five (25) officials, including five (5) women, from the following agencies actively participated in the hybrid course: Dominica Air and Seaports Authority, Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force and the Dominica Customs and Excise Division. This was the first national ISAAPC course delivered to officials in Dominica, which seeks to strengthen national capacities to detect trafficked weapons and ammunition.
The ISAAPC course was carried out via virtual theoretical sessions and in-person practical presentations and exercises. The practical sessions included training on an X-ray simulation programme which is an interactive platform that trains users to identify concealment methods employed by traffickers in the region. The platform was developed by the Centre for Adaptive Security Research and Applications (CASRA).
This training allowed participants to learn about fundamental aspects of X-ray technology to detect and identify small arms, their parts and components, ammunition, and explosives that are placed in or concealed in postal shipments, packages, parcels and luggage at entry, exit, and transit points in the country.
The ISAAPC course forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC within the ’‘Combating illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking in the Caribbean’ project, funded by the United States of America. It was developed in line with 2001 UN Programme of Action on small arms, the Arms Trade Treaty, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular target 16.4. It also contributes towards regional efforts to prevent illicit trafficking of firearms and ammunition as set out in the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.
Forty officers from Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda enhanced their skills on how to conduct gender-sensitive firearms investigations.
From 7 to 18 November 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, carried out the Specialised Course on Firearms Investigations from a Gender Perspective (FIGP), aimed at strengthening participants’ technical knowledge on gender-sensitive firearms-related criminal investigations.
Participants represented the following institutions: Royal Police Force, the Defense Force, the Immigration Department, the Customs and Excise Division and the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy.
The course trained participants on applying gender perspectives to criminal firearms investigations as a complementary method of analysis, thereby contributing to hypothesis free from stereotypes, as well as to identifying evidence of gender-based violence, and ensuring the respect of the human rights or the victims and survivors. The involvement of firearms in violence against women not only leads to fatalities, but they are also used to threaten, intimidate and coerce women.
Course participants agreed on the importance of strengthening inter-institutional cooperation among the different agencies involved in cases related to violence against women, thus optimising their individual and collective efforts to reduce the levels of impunity.
On 26 October, the Ministry of Education and Youth (MoEY) of Jamaica, in collaboration with the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), hosted a roundtable meeting on responses to tackle the presence of firearms in schools. The roundtable meeting aimed at promoting dialogue at the national level on this phenomenon between the different stakeholders and sectors.
During the event, the current context of the presence of firearms in Jamaican schools, their possible impacts, and the challenges that this problem represents were discussed. Representatives from MoEY, the Jamaica Police Force and the Jamaica Planning Institute exchanged views and experiences highlighting some of the measures being implemented to address gun violence in schools.
Discussions focused on preventive approaches across the Latin American and Caribbean region. “While Jamaica has not had many incidents involving the use of firearms on school campuses, it is important that educators and agents of change must work together to proactively identify preventive approach”, emphasized a participant.
To promote the exchange of good practices, the Ministry of Public Education from Costa Rica participated in the roundtable, sharing its initiative entitled ‘Gun Free Schools’, a public policy that is being implemented at the national level in all public schools in Costa Rica and that has includes in regulatory frameworks, protocols and guidelines, data collection, awareness raising campaigns and concrete actions which engage young people.
This virtual roundtable forms part of the activities carried out under the Saving Lives Entity (SALIENT) fund initiative in Jamaica, which seeks to operationalize and mainstreaming small-arms control into development efforts and policies in Jamaica.
The SALIENT fund initiative is implemented in Jamaica by the Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and its Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
From 18 to 21 October 2022 Belizean authorities participated in the National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course and a Monitoring and Evaluation Roundtable Meeting with a view to reducing the effects of armed violence and gun crimes in Belize through strengthen capacities of national officials to respond to those phenomena.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) delivered the activities in collaboration with the Government of Belize.
The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course was opened by Assistant Commissioner of Police Mr. Bartholomew Jones and Canadian Honoury Consul Ms. Marissa Longsworth, who welcomed the progress Belize is making in its commitment to the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and reiterated Canada’s support to both Belize and the wider region.
The three-day training course covered topics such as firearms and ammunition identification and classification, chain of custody, which includes all procedures to protect and ensure the authenticity of evidence at crime scenes, as well as the analysis and management of ballistic information and intelligence, which could reduce impunity and prevent armed violence.
Twenty-nine officials participated in the course, including nine women, representing the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Belize Police Department, Belize Customs Department and Belize Forensic Science Service Laboratory involved in the investigation and prosecution of firearms crimes.
On October 21, following the course, the roundtable on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) was held to advance Belize’s National Action Plan on Firearms (NAP). Belize’s NAP is part of the implementation of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, supported by UNLIREC, CARICOM IMPACS s well as other donors and partners, to carry out concrete actions against illicit firearms trafficking and make the Caribbean a safer region.
National representatives from the Belize Customs Department and Belize Forensic Science Service Laboratory took part in the roundtable. During this activity UNLIREC presented the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which will allow States to track progress on their NAPs and allow monitoring of the implementation of the Roadmap across the region. The roundtable allowed UNLIREC to conduct the baseline assessment with Belize, gathering detailed responses to a matrix of questions. This process allows States to have a robust foundation from which to measure their progress over the course of the Roadmap initiative under the M&E framework.
The National Ballistics Intelligence Management Course and M&E roundtable contribute to the implementation of Goal 1, “Reinforce regulatory frameworks governing firearms and ammunition” and Goal 3, “Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean” of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.
This activity was funded by Canada and supports the implementation of international arms control instruments, in particular the UN Programme of Action on small arms.