AG 'very happy' about US pledge to tackle gun trafficking

Senator Reginald Armour S.C. Attorney General at the opening ceremony of the Convening of Regional Attorneys General Conference, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on July 11. - Photo by Jeff K. Mayers
Senator Reginald Armour S.C. Attorney General at the opening ceremony of the Convening of Regional Attorneys General Conference, Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on July 11. - Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

ATTORNEY General Reginald Armour, SC, says he was "very happy" to hear the US government is committed to tackling the issue of gun trafficking in the Caribbean.

He was speaking to reporters after the opening ceremony of the Caricom Regional Workshop on Achieving the Universalization of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

The ceremony was held on Tuesday morning at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain.

Last week, US State Secretary Antony Blinken, as well as US House of Representatives Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries told Caricom this issue will be addressed.

Jeffries said, "We understand that the guns that are being illegally trafficked here to TT, that are being used in violent acts, are guns that aren't manufactured here in TT. They're guns that, in almost every instance, are manufactured and initially purchased in the US.

"To challenge that, we are going to confront, and confront decisively, in the best interests of our two countries."

In addition, Blinken announced that US attorney Michael Ben’Ary had been appointed co-ordinator for the US Department of Justice's Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions. This position was created in June.

"We’re also working together to address another priority that you share, and that is to stem the rising tide of violent crime taking a devastating toll on communities across the region, especially, we know, young people, hurting local business, undercutting foreign investment, eroding the trust of citizens in their governments," Blinken said.

Armour said the government has a "very strong" position on the trafficking of arms and ammunition, so he was pleased by the ongoing discussions.

"I'm very happy to see recently, we've had some very good supportive statements coming out of the US government recognising the challenge (and) that they need to work with us...

"The guns aren't manufactured here and yet they're on our streets, attacking our children and our women and our business communities and our homes."

During his address at the ceremony, he also said TT has "steered the Caribbean region" to continue and maintain an important role in safeguarding regional and international peace and security.

"TT and Caricom have always taken proactive and leading roles in the areas of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, particularly as it relates to the issue of small arms and light weapons and nuclear weapons."

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