Sharing of ballistics info can smash Caribbean crime networks – Forbes

(Jamaica Gleaner) The interim head of a CARICOM security body says a proposed project to facilitate the sharing of critical ballistics information among the Caribbean community could go a far way in smashing criminal networks involved in transnational organised crimes across the region.

Francis Forbes, interim executive director of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), says at present only Jamaica and Trinidad have the kind of ballistics capability to facilitate the proposal.

“We have proposed a project that would see us being able to computerise ballistics information in all the countries, and then we would have the capability, for the first time, to share the ballistics signatures of firearms and the crime scene ballistics findings of crime guns among all the CARICOM member states and ultimately with the US and with Canada,” Forbes told The Gleaner.

Forbes, a retired commissioner of police in Jamaica, said IMPACS was seeking funding for the project and had been in discussion with the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

“We have just reached a stage now where we are seeing the possibilities of funding between the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and another country which I will not name but it is very high on the agenda,” he added.

Configuration and design

The acting executive director of IMPACS said his organisation has been working on this project for the past two years.

“We have done a configuration and design that would see Barbados getting a full set of equipment and we would end up with three hubs that could service the region (Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados).”

Noting that this sharing of ballistic data could bring about a significant dent in transnational crimes, Forbes said: “We would be able to say with accuracy what are the movements like between countries with regard to illegal firearms and even legal guns.”

Stressing that local gangs in various Caribbean territories were increasingly becoming more organised and involved in transnational crime, Forbes pointed out that “money meets with drugs and guns and ammunition and trafficking in persons”.

He added: “It is not far-fetched for you to imagine that the same people who take drugs from one country to another country would have no difficulty in moving firearms (because) the countries are so close that an individual can commit a crime this morning and before the day is out he may have visited two other countries (in the region).”

Elaborating, Forbes argued that there “is a trend when people use guns sometimes to commit crimes; they don’t want to keep it but they don’t want to give it away, so they may sell it to somebody with the understanding that it cannot remain in the country where the crime was committed because they know if it is used in another jurisdiction it will never be traced back to them.”

Forbes said his organisation was trying to foil that kind of criminal conspiracy.

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