Harris announces initiatives to tackle gun smuggling into Caribbean

US Vice President Kamala Harris lamented yesterday that “too many people in all of our countries are dying from gun violence” and promised a dedicated position in the US Department of Justice to prosecute cases connected to gun trafficking in the Caribbean region.

Harris was in The Bahamas to co-host a US-Caribbean Leaders Meeting at Atlantis.

She reiterated the US’ commitment to stemming the illegal flow of guns from her borders into this region.

“We are committed to interdict shipments of firearms and ammunition and hold traffickers accountable,” Harris said.

“And today, I am pleased to announce that the United States Department of Justice will create a new position, a Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions, which will help maximize information sharing between our countries to support the prosecution of traffickers.

“This effort will be aided by the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which President Biden signed last year, and includes new federal criminal offenses for firearms trafficking and straw purchases.

“In addition, through the US law enforcement agencies, we are supporting a recently established Caribbean Crime Gun Intelligence Unit in Trinidad and Tobago to train officials in firearms investigations and help bring criminals to justice.”

Harris announced more than $100 million in assistance for the Caribbean region.

The assistance will aid in the fight against climate change and gun trafficking, the crisis in Haiti and enhancing diplomatic relations in the region.

She said that the US will also mobilize a transnational criminal investigative unit that will collaborate with the Haitian National Police to investigate and prosecute firearms and human trafficking.

In March, Prime Minister Philip Davis announced that as part of a broader effort to reduce the impact of gun violence in The Bahamas, the country joined a friend of the court brief in the United States Court of Appeal in the First Circuit in support of Mexico, which is appealing its case to hold US gun manufacturers liable for the harm caused by their products.

The Bahamas was joined by Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Human Security (“SEHLAC”), a network of NGOs and affiliated professionals specializing in international humanitarian law and seeking disarmament in the Latin American and the Caribbean region.

The prime minister has said that there needs to be a crackdown on gun smuggling from the US to the Caribbean.

“We don’t want to get involved in their domestic issue about the right to bear arms. We are concerned that purchasers of guns are not just buying [them] to bear [but] rather to export,” he said last year.

“There needs to [be] an intervention and where the evidence appears to them that a person is not buying it and exercising their right to bear it, but buying it with the purpose of trafficking, some legislative intervention needs to be engaged to make those persons responsible and accountable for the arms they purchase.”

Show More

Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

Related Articles

Back to top button