Regional chamber head: Far-fetched to blame US makers for illicit guns

President of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers Vivek Charran.  - File photo
President of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers Vivek Charran. - File photo

CHAIRMAN OF the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers Vivek Charran has described Caricom’s plan to hold US gun manufacturers accountable for the illicit transport and use of their guns as “far-fetched.”

He was responding to plans which came out of the two-day regional crime symposium at the Hyatt Regency earlier this week.

“One, the manufacturers of guns do not do so with the intent to have (them) sent to the Caribbean region,” he said. “The greater significance of it is our inability to identify these shipments through legal ports and illegally through our borders.”

He added that greater focus should be put on customs and excise border control as the first point of contact with arms from America.

Charran also called on government to identify gang activity as a form of domestic terrorism.

He said the chamber had noticed there was little to no direct conversation about the death penalty and prison systems in Caricom countries.

“As a deterrent we feel it is imperative that the death penalty be the ultimate punishment for homicides and gun-related violence,” Charran said. “We see too many criminals passing through the penal system to commit more crimes. The thought of simple incarceration as a punishment no long creates fear in the minds of criminals."

Charran also said there was little reference to the prison system,phones and other contraband are found in the prisons and "hits" are being called from prison.

“(The fact that) gangs hold some power to extort and threaten prison officers, because they have members outside the prison service, must be part of the conversation and solution as well.”

The chamber added that it was happy to see a push toward developing greater capacity for forensic investigations on a national and regional level.

It added that witness testimony was also essential.

“Witnesses are afraid and are being killed,” Charran said. “If Caricom can develop a witness protection programme where witnesses can be safe in another island, it will provide them the confidence they need to make their testimony.”

He said it was alarming to see references to white-collar crime or that businesses would have something to do with the illicit flow of guns into the region, particularly because of the amount of murders of businesspeople.

He said profitable businesses would have no reason to indulge in criminal activity because no sustainable income flow that can be derived from crime.


"Regional chamber head: Far-fetched to blame US makers for illicit guns"

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