Government is buttressing security measures at ports of entry to intercept the illicit trading in firearms. Among the measures being undertaken, is the procurement of new scanners to be installed at the two main Ports and the Argyle International Airport.
Speaking in the House of Assembly on Thursday 23rd, 2023, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, poses a serious threat to citizen security.
In addition to the scanners at ports of entry, Government will engage the services of a security expert commissioned to provide support for the further strengthening of the operational mechanism to combat the trade in illicit weapons. According to the Prime Minister, an estimated 100 million dollars have already been allocated to the security, law and order apparatuses of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Dr. Gonsalves said the matter was raised at the level of CELAC and since most of these illicit firearms originate out of the United States, his government strongly encourages the United States Federal Government to take a more proactive approach in dealing with the issue.
The Prime Minister asserted, “We are requesting the Federal Government in the United States to take to its Congress for ratification the United Nations Treaty on Small Arms, which covers assault weapons, and to implement a practical and stringent regime to control the export of illicit weapons.”
Dr. Gonsalves noted that the majority of weapons are entering the country in cargo containers, televisions and other imported items even though many of the transactions, usually involving the trade in narcotics, occurs at sea. In light of this, the Prime Minister said that the Regional Security System (RSS) is also focused on ramping up border security and surveillance at sea and on land.
During a collaborative regional exercise with INTERPOL and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), Operation Trigger VII, held from September 20th – 30th 2022, intercepted 346 firearms and 3328 rounds of ammunition.