On 3 December 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Governments of Germany and Trinidad and Tobago, hosted a National Firearms Licensing System Roundtable Meeting.

Trinidad and Tobago has embarked on an initiative to develop an integrated data management information technology system to improve stockpile management and reduce loopholes for diversion. The project seeks to streamline and digitise the Firearms Licensing Management System in Trinidad and Tobago, reduce loopholes for diversion and ensure compliance with the Arms Trade Treaty reporting Standards.

UNLIREC supported Trinidad and Tobago by hosting a roundtable meeting on national firearms licensing systems, with technical experts from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Canadian Firearms Program, United Kingdom’s National Firearms Licencing System, Home Office and National Crime Agency and the Dominican Republic’s Laboratorio Balístico y Biométrico del Sistema Nacional de Armas (LABBS), all sharing national experience and best practices on computerising licensing processes.

Close to 50 representatives (27 women) of the Ministry of National Security, Strategic Services Agency, Office of Law Enforcement Policy, Forensic Science Centre, Firearms Appeal Board, Customs and Excise Department, and Trinidad and Tobago Police Service took part in the roundtable. Participants included the Minister of National Security, heads of the Police Service, Intelligence Agency, Customs Department and Forensic Laboratory as well as their subordinates responsible for the licencing firearm applicants.

This roundtable complements recent initiatives undertaken by Trinidad and Tobago including its adoption of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, and discussions to create its National Action Plan. The activities were made possible thanks to the generous support of the government of Germany and included experts from the United Kingdom, Canada and the Dominican Republic. The Roundtable on National Firearms Licensing Management Systems contributes towards the implementation of Goal 1 of the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, Reinforce Regulatory Frameworks Governing Firearms and Ammunition and ultimately reducing firearms-related crimes and armed violence in the Caribbean.

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.