On Wednesday, 20th July, 2011, a representative from the OAS Department of Public Security in Washington DC, Ms. Florencia Raskovan, presented a firearms marking machine to the St. Kitts & Nevis Police Force, during a ceremony at the Police Training Complex, in East Basseterre.
While making her presentation, Ms. Raskovan assured the Police High Command that the OAS is here to support the new efforts to combat the illicit trafficking in firearms.
Raskovan said that firearms- marking is a process that permanently marks weapons with identifiable information, such as serial number, name and place of manufacturer, or importer, model and caliber. She described the gift as an essential step for helping law enforcement authorities to trace and recover firearms used in crimes, as well as to identify trafficking groups and traffickers.
“The Caribbean serves as a transit region for drugs-moving north, and illicit firearms-moving south. Increasingly however, the guns are staying in the region and are contributing to the increasing rates of crime and violence throughout the region”, stated Ms. Raskovan.
She told the nation’s top security officials that the OAS assigns critical importance to the control and management of firearms, as a necessary step for ensuring greater security of the hemisphere’s citizens. The Inter American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunitions, Explosives …adopted by member States in 1997, is the first legally binding instrument in this regard.
These donations are being made within the framework of the project, promoting firearms marking within Latin America and the Caribbean; an initiative funded by the government of the United States,
As a result of this program, it is expected that tens of thousands of firearms will be marked throughout the hemisphere and that all member states will have the legislation in place to support this project.
Raskovan explained that the donation also includes the training necessary to operate the equipment and a lap top computer for proper record keeping of the firearms marked.
The OAS will continue to promote initiatives that assist and support the capacity of all member states to respond quickly and efficiently to the growing levels of crime and violence generated by firearms trafficking.