Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General, Diane Campbell (first row, fifth from right) poses with workshop participants at the Radisson Resort today. (A.Gaskin/BGIS)
Government is moving swiftly ahead with the implementation of a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which was ratified last year and is aimed at preventing the illicit trade in conventional arms.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General, Diane Campbell, efforts to do so included a review of legislation to ensure Barbados was in compliance with its obligations under the treaty.
She was speaking today at the opening ceremony of an ad hoc seminar for Barbados as part of the European Union Arms Trade Treaty Outreach Project, at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the ATT had the distinction of being the first legally-binding instrument negotiated in the United Nations to establish common standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons. She added that its implementation was especially critical for Caribbean countries which suffered from the harmful effects of such weaponry.
“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime notes that 68 per cent of homicides which occur in the region are committed with firearms. This is compared to 13 per cent within the European Union.
“To further highlight the gravity of the situation in the region, it is estimated that there are over 1.6 million illegal firearms in the Caribbean. It is due to this harsh reality that CARICOM and other like-minded States have maintained strong support for a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty,” she underscored.
Ms. Campbell added that the session was in conformity with Article 15(1) of the treaty, and was expected to provide a platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas on a number of issues, including licensing, combating illicit trade and diversion, physical security and stockpile management.
The seminar will run for two days and attendees include officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the judiciary, customs and police, as well as members of the armed forces.
It is being organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and the European Union, and facilitators are representatives of the Council Working Group on Conventional Arms and the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control.