Work has begun on the development of an Integrated Ballistics Information Network for the region as CARICOM moves to tackle the scourge of illegal guns and the attendant crimes.

High level delegations of Firearms Examiners and Ballistics Experts from across the Caribbean Community came together at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain last Friday in a new security initiative that is expected to augment the  capacity to combat the scourge of illegal guns and the crimes involving their use, according to a  CARICOM press release issued on behalf of the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

This initiative aims to enable national and regional law enforcement agencies to overcome obstacles and delays stemming from the logistics of physical evidence exchange and afford them the tools to discover and analyze links between crimes, guns and suspects.

In addition to Guyana, other member states at the  seminar included Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. Associate member states included Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

Each presenter during the morning’s session lamented the escalation of crime that CARICOM member states had witnessed in recent times.

And in his capacity as chair of the Caribbean Community’s Council of Ministers responsible for National Security and Law Enforcement, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister Martin Joseph explained that virtually every member state of CARCOM was being afflicted by this scourge. He then assured delegates of CARICOM’s commitment to address these challenges. “This conference,” he said, “reflects our awareness of the severity of the problems associated with this illicit trade as well as our determination and urgency to build sustainable capacity and strengthen regional and international cooperation against this transnational scourge.” The minister also acknowledged Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s leadership in his capacity as lead head with responsibility for crime and security in the CARICOM’s quasi cabinet.

He also applauded the work of the Implementation Agency for crime and security headed by Executive Director Lynne Anne Williams.

Meanwhile, Williams in her address  asserted that “crime is both a human security issue and a development issue.” “We must,” she said “take meaningful steps to prevent further human suffering and destruction of life.”

In this context Williams explained the development of the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network.

“RIBIN,” she said, “represents for the region an important step forward, a concrete example of how we are collectively working to improve investigative and prosecutorial capacity to support law enforcement…It will facilitate the sharing of intelligence across jurisdictional boundaries, enabling national and regional law enforcement agencies to overcome the obstacles and delays associated with the logistics of physical evidence exchange and give them the tools to discover and analyze links between crimes, guns and suspects.”

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