Following the donation of a set of hydraulic shears, for the destruction of small arms and a Small Arms Ammunition Burning Tank (SAABT) to the Government of Guyana by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) in January 2014, UNLIREC experts assisted the Government from 3-14 February in destroying over 4,000 surplus and obsolete weapons and almost 3 tonnes of small arms ammunition.

UNLIREC’s technical assistance included hands-on training of officials from the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force responsible for leading the destruction efforts. The trainings included the use and maintenance of destruction equipment, as well as technical know-how on managing stockpiles and destroying weapons according to internationally-accepted best practices and guidelines. This combined assistance ensures that permanent indigenous capacity is installed for future and regular destruction of weapons and ammunition. The periodic destruction of weapons and ammunition constitutes one of the most effective means of preventing diversion and ensuring that these weapons do not find their way into illicit activities and criminal networks.

The donation of this equipment and the support for destruction forms part of a wider UNLIREC programme for weapons 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 small arms and light weapons, 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 will continue to support the Government of Guyana in a variety of areas, including stockpile management, training and capacity-building and legal and policy review.

UNLIREC serves 33 countries in the region in assisting them in the development of disarmament policies and the implementation of international disarmament instruments, most notably the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page []. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at [].