On 21 October 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, hosted an online National Tracing Workshop and Roundtable Meeting.

In the Caribbean, thousands of illicit firearms are seized annually. However, not all illicit firearms are traced to identify their last known legal owners. Ineffective procedures and the absence of serial numbers on firearms are factors that hinder the ability of States to trace firearms recovered. These challenges are by the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which Antigua and Barbuda have adopted. In this sense, the National Tracing Workshop and Roundtable Meeting were developed to support the State’s efforts to trace firearms and implement the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.

Over 20 national officials from the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Customs and Excise, Antigua and Barbuda Forensic Services, the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy, the Ministry of Public Safety and Labour, and the Department of Immigration took part in the National Tracing Workshop and the Roundtable Meeting. Participants included operational police officers and analysts responsible for recovering illicit firearms, retrieving trace evidence, analysing firearm crime data, tracing firearms and collating information on criminal groups. The Workshop included presentations from UNLIREC, Antigua and Barbuda, and partners, including the United Kingdom’s National Ballistics Intelligence Service and the International Police Organization (INTERPOL).

The tracing workshop precedes a serial number restoration course that was undertaken for representatives of the Antigua and Barbuda Forensic Service and the Royal Police Force to enhance the State’s capacity to successfully trace weapons. The workshop and the roundtable meeting were made possible thanks to the financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany.

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.