High-powered guns seized
October 15, 2004
High-powered guns seized

A shipment of “high-powered weapons” destined for St. Vincent and the Grenadines is now in the custody of Barbadian officials.

According to reports reaching this newspaper, the assortment of weapons, including M16s, was seized by Barbados customs officials after no official clearance for the weapons was presented to customs officers on Monday.{{more}}

The weapons were brought in through the United States Embassy for the Regional Security System (RSS), of which the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is a part. They were expected to be in the hands of local law enforcers as part of the RSS arrangement to heighten security within member countries. But, customs officials quickly intercepted the weapons after no formal arrangements were made to have the weapons travel through Barbados.

Top officials in Barbados’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs are said to have demanded an explanation from the United States Ambassador Mary Kramer who reportedly apologised for the absence of sound documentation.

However, it was said that the weapons were only in Barbados on a trans-shipment basis, but were actually destined for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted local Police Commissioner William Harry who acknowledged being aware of the incident. “As a matter of fact, the information just came through to me and I am aware of the situation,” Commissioner Harry explained when contacted by SEARCHLIGHT.

The Commissioner confirmed that the weapons were coming through the Regional Security Services and were to be dispatched to local police officers here.

“It’s just that the normal procedure, in terms of paper work, was not carried out, but I have been assured that the weapons would be here by the end of the week,” the Commissioner outlined.

The incident occurred while this country’s Prime Minister, who is currently RSS chairman, held consultations with Prime Minister Owen Arthur and other regional leaders at the one-day Council of Ministers meeting dealing with security issues.

The container carrying the weapons was still with the Barbadian Customs Department up to press time.