From 24 – 29 June 2012 the United Nations Office for Disarmament’s Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) assisted the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GoTT) in the destruction of 1,131 surplus and obsolete small arms, including semi-automatic machine guns, pistols and revolvers. The weapons were destroyed at the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) Teteron Barracks using a combination of hydraulic shears and disc saws provided to the Government by UNLIREC. The destruction process included independent monitoring and verification undertaken by UNLIREC personnel.

A ceremonial destruction and closing ceremony took place on 29 June at the Teteron Barracks. During the ceremony, Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Kenrick Maharaj; Heads of Divisions; and members of the diplomatic community were addressed by Lt Col. Darnley Wyke of the TTDF; Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Security, Dr Wendy Quamina-Yorke; and UNLIREC Senior Programme Officer, Ms Juliet Solomon.

The destruction activities are made possible with the financial support of the US Department of State´s Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement. These activities form part of UNLIREC´s Caribbean Assistance Programme, launched in Kingston, Jamaica in April 2010, and carried out in eight Caribbean countries with the financial support of Canada and the USA. Since October 2011, UNLIREC has assisted the GoTT in the destruction of 2,286 surplus, obsolete and confiscated small arms, more than five tonnes of small arms ammunition and has provided equipment and training in order to guarantee permanent national capacity for weapons and ammunition destruction.

The Office for Disarmament Affairs’ Regional Disarmament Centres, which includes UNLIREC, serve over 135 countries worldwide and assists them in the implementation of arms control and disarmament programmes, such as the implementation of the 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.

The destruction of firearms and ammunition in cooperation with the GoTT is part of joint efforts to combat illicit trafficking in firearms, strengthen the capacity of the country’s security forces and reduce armed violence throughout the country.

For more information on UNLIREC visit []. Please direct all questions or inquiries to: Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer [].