CARICOM IMPACS Enhances Capacity To Combat Illegal Trafficking Of Firearms In St. Kitts And Nevis

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Law enforcement officers and border protection agents in St. Kitts and Nevis are participating in a workshop aimed at enhancing  the nation’s ability to combat the trafficking of illegal firearms, and consequently, decrease gun-related violence.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew.

The April 29 to May 02, 2024, In-Country Sensitisation and Awareness workshop is being hosted by the Crime Gun Intelligence Unit (CGIU) within the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS).

Over the course of the workshop, partner agencies from the the United States including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations will make presentations and conduct relevant training for the participants. Discussions are expected to cover areas such as firearms export licensing, e-tracing, and critical investigative techniques.

Tonya Ayow, Deputy Executive Director at CARICOM IMPACS, in her remarks during the opening ceremony at the Customs and Excise Department’s Conference Room on April 29, said that this week’s workshop in St. Kitts and Nevis will also serve as a platform for strengthening existing relationships and enhancing information and intelligence sharing capabilities.

“… We recognise that the fight against firearms-related crimes demands a united front. It necessitates a seamless exchange of information and intelligence, expertise and resources across regional and international boundaries,” Deputy Executive Director Ayow said, noting that authorities here will also learn more about the resources and tools available to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in efforts to tackle the scourge of illegal trafficking of firearms.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, stated that the significance and timeliness of this week’s sensitisation and awareness session should not  be underestimated, especially given the rise in gun-related crimes across the Caribbean region.

“St. Kitts and Nevis is not immune to the increased incidences of firearms-related crimes. However, our law enforcement agencies are fully engaged to arrest this menace to society,” assured Prime Minister Dr. Drew. “The traffic of illegal weapons into any nation is a direct breach of its borders and a threat to the safety and security of every man, woman and child. Such actions serve only to erode the efficacy and integrity of the national security apparatus of our countries here in the Caribbean. As a people, it is our national duty to learn all that we can in order to arrest this plague and rid our societies of the dark veil of gun violence,” he added.

Prime Minister Dr. Drew expressed gratitude to CARICOM IMPACS and all the partnering agencies for lending their support and sharing their expertise with local law enforcement officers over the next four days with the main objective of enhancing the Federation’s ability to combat the trafficking of illegal weapons.

Similar workshops are expected to take place in all 15 CARICOM Member States over the coming months.

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