We have to stem the flow of illegal guns into Barbados!
That is the charge from Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who has maintained his stance that illegal guns are entering Barbados via the island???s air and seaports.
The Attorney General was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Barbados Customs Brokers and Clerks Association last Saturday.
Dismissing allegations from some that he was ???bashing??? the Customs Department, the Minister reiterated that what he did say was that ???the firearms are coming either by air or by sea, ???.either coming through our ports or other places across the coves of Barbados???.
And, he stressed, whether they were coming through the Grantley Adams International Airport, the Bridgetown Port, or Port St. Charles, all efforts must be made to do what was required to stem the flow.
???That is not criticising Customs Officers; that is not saying that individual Customs Officers or Customs Officers collectively are engaged in facilitating illegal guns into the country. I never said that, nor am I saying that.
???All I am saying is that we have an issue and we need all actors involved. We need to get the Police involved, we need to get Customs involved, we need to get the brokers involved; whoever can assist us in identifying how firearms are coming into the country so we can stem the flow???,??? the Attorney General urged.
He pointed out that of the 31 murders last year, at least 80 per cent were committed through the use of firearms.
Mr. Brathwaite, who is also Minister of Home Affairs, stressed that ???guns did not drop out of the sky???, and therefore had to be entering the island through some means. Therefore, he added, the onus was on those in key positions to ensure that the youth were protected from dying at the hands of firearms.
???I will not back down from the fact that we need everyone involved in the fight, including Customs,??? he concluded.