On 28 June 2013, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, the Minister of National Security, Senator the Honourable Emmanuel George, and the Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), Ms. Mélanie Régimbal, inaugurated the Caribbean Regional Armoury Management Training Centre.

Secure stockpile management represents an excellent safeguard against the diversion of weapons into illicit channels, while safer storage facilities also result in fewer accidental stockpile explosions that can harm innocent people living in close proximity to stockpile facilities. It is in this context that UNLIREC and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago joined forces to establish the Regional Amoury Management Training Centre with a view to creating long-term human resource capacity for technical armoury management across the entire region. This initiative forms part of a wider UNLIREC Caribbean Firearms Assistance Package, which has trained more than 3,500 government officials in the combat of illicit trafficking and destroyed more than 40,000 weapons and 56 tonnes of ammunition. This component was made possible thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of State´s Bureau for International Security and Non-Proliferation.

The Centre, which is expected to service more than 100 regional armourers from various security forces (police, defense, prison and customs) in the coming years, is housed at the Police Service (TTPS) Academy at the St James Barracks, Trinidad and Tobago. The Police Academy was chosen based on its high standard of excellence for training due in large part to the capacity of Academy personnel and the quality of its infrastructure.

UNLIREC held the first national armoury management course from 17-28 June. The 12 Trinidad and Tobago participants increased their ability to manage, store, secure, inspect, maintain, repair and destroy small arms and ammunition in keeping with internationally-accepted norms. UNLIREC will work with this twin-island State in delivering a regional course for 13 countries across the Caribbean in November 2013. Additional courses are currently being planned for 2014 in which armourers trained in 2013 will have a chance to share their knowledge and expertise with future course participants giving life to the ‘training-the-trainers’ concept. This phased approach to armoury management training will result in a pool of professionals responsible for securing the storage of weapons and weapons accountability at a regional level, thus contributing to reducing the risk of proliferation.

UNLIREC, as the regional organ of the UN Office for Disarmament, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of its commitment to support Member States in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, in particular, the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms.

For more information on UNLIREC visit (www.unlirec.org). Please direct all questions or inquiries to Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer (cowl@unlirec.org).