Equipment to aid in the disposal of obsolete guns, ammunition and explosives was yesterday handed over to the Government of Guyana by the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC).
The Hydraulic Shears and a Small Arms Ammunition Burning Tank that were handed over are intended to aid in the disposal of obsolete guns, ammunition and explosives, thereby promoting effective stockpile management in Guyana. At least 20 Guyana Police Force and Guyana Defence Force ranks have been trained so far to operate the equipment.
At the handover ceremony, held at the Tactical Services Unit (TSU) Armory at Eve Leary yesterday, Juliet Solomon, Senior Programme Officer for UNLIREC’s Public Security Programme, said that she is pleased that the partnership between Guyana and UNLIREC has materialised.
She added that the handing over of the hydraulic shears and the small arms ammunition burning tank, designed by UNLIREC, is the beginning of a joint implementation of the National Action Plan for stockpile management of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
Solomon said that she believes that effective stockpile management is the key to the reduction of homicides.
She added that the homicide rate in Latin America and the Caribbean is very high, and 80% of the homicides committed involve the use of guns and ammunition that make their way onto the streets, either trafficked illegally across borders or stolen.
UNLIREC will also train ranks in the areas of ballistic testing and fingerprinting along with additional areas to help address illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Solomon said that in March of 2013, the Government of Guyana requested to join UNLIREC’s stockpile management programme. In June, 2013, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee reported that Guyana was working with the UN body in the context of stockpile management and how to deal with the accumulation of obsolete firearms and ammunition.
Solomon said that UNLIREC will provide guidance to Guyana for effective disposal of obsolete weapons and ammunition as well as the storing of stockpiles to international standards.
Technical support for the development, monitoring and documentation of firearms and ammunition will be provided, among other things, Solomon said.
Assistant Police Com-missioner (Administration) Balram Persaud said that Guyana has always had difficulty in destroying obsolete weapons and ammunition. “We tried once and the results were not so good,” Persaud said.
United States Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt said that the US Government is pleased to support UNLIREC in the venture and added that the US government has invested US$1.7M in the programme.
The stockpile management programme is presently utilised in Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, St. Kitts, Suriname and Guyana.
UNLIREC works in collaboration with Caricom and the Organisation of American States.
Rohee, Crime Chief Seelall Persaud and Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell were among the gathering at the handing over ceremony.
On Monday, Solomon submitted a report to the Government of Guyana on its disarmament obligations, the Government Information Agency reported.
According to GINA, the document contained a comprehensive assessment of Guyana’s obligations, internationally under treaties and agreements, in respect of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
UNLIREC conducted the study to guide Guyana on how to dispense with firearms, as well as securing stockpiles in ways that are in keeping with certain international standards.