Governments to wage war on illegal gun imports
Dr. Ralph Gonsalves
Front Page
April 21, 2023

Governments to wage war on illegal gun imports

Governments in the region have made a political commitment to wage a war on illegal firearms, most of which they agree, originate from the United States of America (USA).

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, speaking during a press briefing on Thursday at Cabinet Room said he had just returned from Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) where he attended a Caricom Crime and Citizen Security symposium which was held under the theme, “The Challenge of Crime-A public health issue”.

He said the two-day symposium had several outcomes, including acknowledging that governments are deeply concerned at the high rate of illegal exportation of guns from the USA to the Caribbean region and the role they play in crime in our communities.

Gonsalves said that on February 23, he made a statement in parliament about illicit firearms and what he said at the symposium was what he addressed in parliament.

“The issue really, the complex issue of crime as everybody knows is that there are some root causes and there are some proximate causes and I made the point in my first intervention at the symposium that the root causes will genuinely take a longer length of time to have resolutions,”Gonsalves said.

He however noted that proximate causes, once you can have some technical interventions, can be addressed.

A declaration by the heads of government on crime and violence as a public health issue, which is available online, states that all participants at the meeting have agreed to ban assault weapons in the region, except for security forces and sporting competitions, and also to stand with Mexico on its legal action again US gun manufacturers and retailers.

Back in February, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne lamented the prevalence of illegal guns in country, stressing that her court seemed to have become “a gun court”.

“I think every day there has been a gun-related offence in this court. I think I am operating a gun court this year and then we are hearing of gun hauls in different parts of SVG,” she said back then.

Also, last December, the biggest haul of guns ever seized in the country were traced back to the USA.

Commissioner of Police, Colin John said back then that the guns – two high powered rifles, namely a Draco and an Apache and six Glocks and 200 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, were seized at the Customs and they were working along with international bodies to ascertain certain things.

One of the guns, shipped with additional magazines and a scope, was later linked to a crime committed in the USA.