The high number of firearm-related incidents in this country is putting an increased burden on the State and Barbadians in general.

Furthermore, lamented Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, depending on the nature of the injury, the length of hospitalisation and whether that person has to undergo surgery, ???there is an attendant cost to the people of Barbados in terms of healthcare every time someone is shot???.

The Minister was addressing the opening ceremony of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, (UNLIREC) Executive Seminar on Forensic Ballistics for Industrial Clients at the Courtyard by Marriott today.

Mr. Brathwaite stated that the problem ???gets worse if the individual becomes disabled, because quite often, more often than not, the State has to take responsibility for this individual going forward???.

Bemoaning the fact that most of these young (firearm victims) men were at a stage in their lives when they should be most productive and giving back to the country, the Attorney General, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, pointed out that rather than being productive citizens, the country had to provide for them, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

The Minister also pointed to the number of firearm-related crimes that had taken place throughout the country over the last few months, and acknowledged that the large scale use of firearms in Barbados and across the region was causing him significant concern.

??????We say and this is true that we do not manufacture firearms; no one else in the balance of the region manufactures firearms but that in itself is not enough to say to our international partners or to manufacturers of firearms, ???well, you have caused us the problem,??? when in reality we have contributed to the problem ourselves,??? Mr. Brathwaite surmised.

The Attorney General also expressed the view that we had created a society where many of our young men in particular were not afraid to use firearms and take the lives of their fellow citizens.

???This speaks to the psychological makeup of many of our young people. I am saying as a society we must also accept some responsibility. And, as a country and as a Government, we then have a responsibility to see how we can reduce firearms coming into this country,??? he charged.

The Minister implored the participants, who included executive level officials from the Forensic Sciences Centre, the Barbados Defence Force, the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Department of Public Prosecutions, to link their training to helping to reduce the number of weapons coming into Barbados.

Project Advisor at UNLIREC, Quinnelle-Marie Kangalee, told those gathered that 65 per cent of homicides were committed by firearms. She noted that her organisation had been working alongside Barbados for the last five years, as well as with eight other Caribbean territories.

She further cited that the seminar aimed to introduce the appropriate officials to ballistics in support of criminal investigations and the counter-proliferation of firearms and ammunition.

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