As CARICOM continues to ramp up its campaign against the import of illegal guns from the US into the region, US Ambassador to T&T, Candace Bond yesterday assured leaders that the United States is committed to the cause, already having invested US$832 billion in the Caribbean Basin Security Institute (CBSI).
Ambassador Bond gave the closing address at Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad yesterday to regional representatives in attendance on the last day of a seminar hosted by CSBI and its partners.
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She highlighted particular policies instituted by the US government to combat the gun trade, like the Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act, a is a U.S.-Caribbean priority, and the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
In addition, Bind shred that the US Department of State also invested US$8 million to Caribbean nations for capacity building to combat the trade, and spent over US$3.4 billion to modernize ports of entry.
She said, “On April 13, the US Department of Justice announced that three members of a Caribbean arms trafficking ring pleaded guilty to federal charges in Florida. According to the plea agreements, Oliver, Phillip, and King—two of whom are nationals of T&T—were part of a ring that unlawfully exported firearms, firearms components, and related items from Florida to Trinidad and Tobago between 2019 and 2022.”
“The firearms, which included pistols, long rifles, and related equipment, were concealed to avoid detection by law enforcement and customs authorities. The conspirators acquired firearms from different sellers through straw purchases, falsely representing the identities of the actual purchasers and recipients of the firearms, as well as their ultimate destination.”
Bond urged regional cooperation in the effort, saying “We do this because we are neighbors, friends, and family and we have a responsibility to keep each other safe.”
She doubled down on the US’ commitment saying the first world power is the best and most trusted security partner.