Illicit trade in small arms and light weapons responsible for untold suffering globally: BarbadosListen /
NAR: The adoption of the 2001 Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons was the tangible reflection of the need for coordinated action at the multilateral level to prevent and combat the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. So says Barbados’ representative to the United Nations Ambassador Joseph Goddard.
His comments came days before the second United Nations conference to review the 2001 Programme of Action on Trafficking in small arms and light weapons wrapped up its session with Member States renewing their pledge to rid the world of the scourge brought upon it by the illicit manufacture, transfer and circulation of small arms and light weapons, and their excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread in many parts of the world.
TAPE. The illicit trade has been responsible for untold suffering globally. It undermines national and regional stability and threatens citizen's security. The resulting insecurity and violence detract from our efforts to promote development and prosperity. For Barbados and the other small developing countries, the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons constitutes a threat to social and economic development Experience has shown that this trade is inextricably linked to the trade in illicit drugs. Located, as we are, between the region of greatest production of cocaine and the track, country and areas of greatest consumption and given the maritime inter-regional movement of other drugs, Barbados and other Caribbean territories have become a transhipment area for both illicit drugs and the firearms which accompany them.
NAR. Ambassador Goddard explained that insufficient capacity for effective maritime monitoring and for security maritime borders makes the island particularly vulnerable to the entry of illicit drugs and weapons.
TAPE: Border control is therefore of paramount importance and CARICOM has lobbied consistently to have due weight accorded to this matter in the agenda of the programme of action. As CARICOM delegations have reiterated in numerous statements over several years, small arms and light weapons are the weapons of mass destruction of the Caribbean. Barbados and the Caribbean community as a whole have therefore, been deeply and actively engaged in the UN process to prevent, control and eliminate the illicit trade in these weapons. But the achievements of these goals extend beyond the framework of the programme of action. It also encompasses the content of a future arms trade treaty. During the ATT negotiations, CARICOM countries joined a significant number of other delegations in insisting on the inclusion of SALW's and ammunition in the scope of items covered by the treaty. The failure of the ATT conference to achieve this purpose was a grave disappointment. However, Barbados has the expectation that the resulting draft document will serve as a basis for resumed negotiations leading to the eventual adoption of a strong and legally-binding arms trade treaty.
NAR: Ambassador Goddard said that some of advances made by the Caribbean community (CARICOM) included the formation of the CARICOM implementation agency for crime and security, designed to manage the regional agenda on transnational organized crime, security and related matters. He said the Agency was developing an integrated ballistic information network to improve the capacity of regional member states to identify and trace guns and ammunition used to commit crimes, particular in more than one territory.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.