From 5-6 December, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) with the support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and CARICOM’s Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security carried out a Caribbean Regional Encounter on Forensic Ballistics in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The purpose of the Regional Encounter was to highlight the importance of quality management systems in laboratories, as well as to advance and support the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network (RIBIN), and develop formal relationships at the policy/technical levels among Caribbean States.

The event formed part of UNLIREC’s region-wide assistance package on operational forensic ballistics, designed to complement other bilateral, regional and international initiatives’. This package, funded by the governments of Canada and the United States, contemplates collaboration with designated national authorities to undertake forensic ballistics capabilities assessments; provide basic and advanced training for firearms and toolmark examiners; raise awareness among institutional clients of forensic ballistics; provide basic laboratory material; and support the incorporation of written standard operating procedures into existing systems.

Participants at the Regional encounter included Permanent Secretaries, Directors of Civilian Forensic Laboratories, Heads of Police Crime Laboratories, Senior Firearms Examiners and other policy personnel from several states including: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago. Other Institutional Participants included representatives from the ATF, INTERPOL, CARICOM IMPACS and UNLIREC.

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 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms.