On 23 January 2014, UNLIREC officially handed over a set of hydraulic shears to the Government of Guyana for the destruction of small arms and a Small Arms Ammunition Burning Tank (SAABT) for the destruction of small arms ammunition and explosives. Both of these pieces of equipment were provided to Guyana with a view to ensuring permanent indigenous capacity for regular destruction of weapons and ammunition.

The handover ceremony, held at Eve Leary Police Barracks in Georgetown, included attendance by Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee; Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips; United States Ambassador to Guyana, Mr Brent Hardt; Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell.

Prior to the official handover of equipment, 25 persons from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) were trained in the maintenance and operation of the hydraulic shears resulting in the destruction of 700 surplus and obsolete firearms.

These specialized destruction tools complement the delivery of 40 padlocks and hasps also provided by UNLIREC to national authorities for enhancing the security of strategic stockpile facilities, thus contributing to preventing theft, loss and diversion of firearms and ammunition to illicit actors. Both sets of equipment will bolster Guyana’s ability to combat illicit trafficking in firearms and reduce and prevent armed violence.

UNLIREC will be returning to Guyana in early February 2014 to conduct training sessions on the use of the SAABT and to support further destruction of surplus, obsolete and seized weapons, ammunition and explosives.

The donation of this equipment and technical assistance forms part of a wider UNLIREC programme for firearms destruction and stockpile management support to Caribbean States aimed at combating illicit trafficking by reducing the risk of theft and diversion from government holdings of firearms, ammunition and explosives. The activities carried out were made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of the United States of America.

UNLIREC, as the regional office of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean and to support Member States in the region in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, including the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page [www.unlirec.com]. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at [cowl@unlirec.org].