PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – In a meeting of some historical significance, high level delegations of Firearms Examiners and Ballistics Experts, from across the Caribbean Community, came together at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on Friday, January 16, 2009 to begin work on the development of an Integrated Ballistics Information Network for the Region.
This new security initiative will augment the Caribbean Community’s capacity to combat the scourge of illegal guns and the crimes involving their use.
Member States in attendance at the Seminar included Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. Associate member states included, Anguilla, and The British Virgin Islands.
Each presenter during the morning’s session lamented the escalation of crime that CARICOM Member States had witnessed in recent times. In his capacity as chair of the Caribbean Community’s Council of Ministers responsible for National Security and Law Enforcement, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister Martin Joseph explained that virtually every Member State of CARICOM was being afflicted by this scourge.
That being said, he assured delegates of CARICOM’s commitment to address these challenges. “This conference” he said “reflects our awareness of the severity of the problems associated with this illicit trade as well as our determination and urgency to build sustainable capacity and strengthen regional and international cooperation against this transnational scourge.”
The Minister acknowledged Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s leadership in his capacity as lead head with responsibility for crime and security in the CARICOM’s quasi cabinet and applauded the work of the Implementation Agency for crime and security headed by Executive Director Ms Lynne Anne Williams.
When Ms Williams took the podium she reminded the regional collective that “crime is both a human security issue and a development issue.” “We must,” she said “take meaningful steps to prevent further human suffering and destruction of life.”
It is in this context that Ms Williams explained the development of the Regional Integrated Ballistics Information Network. “RIBIN” she said, “represents for the Region an important step forward, a concrete example of how we are collectively working to improve investigative and prosecutorial capacity to support Law Enforcement…It will facilitate the sharing of intelligence across jurisdictional boundaries, enabling national and regional Law Enforcement agencies to overcome the obstacles and delays associated with the logistics of physical evidence exchange and give them the tools to discover and analyze links between crimes, guns and suspects.”
The chair of the morning’s proceedings was the Director of CARICOM IMPACS Liaison Office, Mr. Francis Forbes, who pointed out that the escalation of crime was a universal phenomenon before celebrating the fact as he put that “CARICOM had gone into action.”