On 8 November 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Government of Guyana, 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 Guyana 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.

Nine national officials from the Guyana Police Force, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Defence Force, the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory, and the Customs Department 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, analyzing firearm crime data, tracing firearms and collating information on criminal groups. The Workshop included presentations from UNLIREC, Guyana, and the United Kingdom’s National Ballistics Intelligence Service.

The Tracing workshop preceded a Serial Number Restoration course which was undertaken during the same week for representatives of the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory and the Guyana Police Force to enhance the State’s capacity to successfully trace weapons. Both activities were carried out in line with the 2001 UN Porgramme of Action on Small Arms and Sustainable Development Goal 16.4, contributes towards the implementation of Goal 3 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse, and ammunition, and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean.

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.