On 21 September 2022, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), hosted a roundtable meeting in support of Jamaica’s National Action Plan under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, which focused on privately manufactured firearms and the characteristics of an armed individual respectively.
The roundtable was opened by the UN Resident Coordinator to Jamaica and the Officer in charge of UNLIREC, before presenting participants with an update on the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap.
Following the introductory segment, a presentation was provided on privately manufactured firearms, also known as Ghost Guns. These are unmarked, non-serialized/self-fabricated firearms that are difficult to trace and do not comply with regulations associated with traditionally manufactured firearms. Participants discussed the various tools, materials and operating processes that are used to make illicitly, privately manufactured firearms, and the associated evidence that can be available to law enforcement when investigating cases involving privately manufactured firearms. During the discussions, participants emphasized the need to share information among the forensic labs and investigators to strengthen their capacity to respond to this new phenomenon effectively.
The second presentation and discussion focused on the characteristics of an armed individual. Participants discussed the current Jamaican Firearms Act and the proposed amendments, including who can legally possess a firearm and use a firearm. Participants also discussed the safety of law enforcement officers and other persons when responding to cases of armed violence. This included common factors which law enforcement officers and others should look out for when faced with armed suspects.
The roundtable was attended by twenty-two officials, including fifteen women, from the Ministry of National Security, Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Customs Authority, Firearms Licensing Authority, Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine and Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The topics reflected issues of interest identified in Jamaica´s National Action Plan under the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap and the knowledge gained will strengthen the implementation of Goals Goal 2 (Reduce the illicit flow of firearms and ammunition into, within and beyond the region) and 3 (Bolster law enforcement capacity to combat illicit firearms and ammunition trafficking and their illicit possession and misuse) respectively.
The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Government of Jamaica and forms part of the technical assistance provided by UNLIREC under the Saving Lives Entity (SALIENT) initiative which aims to reduce violence and the proliferation of illicit firearms in Jamaica.