Barbadian police have made some headway in controlling firearms, but concern remains about the use of these weapons in crimes.
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin, who was speaking this morning after receiving new equipment to aid the Royal Barbados Police Force in this regard, said it was part of a plan to ensure guns did not get into the hands of criminals.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean presented police with new hydraulic shears to destroy firearms at Central Police Station this morning, making Barbados the 12th island to receive the machinery.
It was part of an agreement between the UN and Government relating to the management of stock piles of small arms and weapons.
Lawmen told the media 275 firearms out of 1,343 identified for destruction were destroyed, in addition to 2,700 pounds of ammunition and some CS gas and fireworks.
Dottin said Barbados was “fortunate to have a relatively low crime rate”, but also pointed out that two per cent of all crime reported was firearm enabled.
“In respect of our murders we have a very low murder rate; however 50 per cent of our murders is firearm enabled,” he stated.
Dottin also said there were measures in place to track the movement of firearms, including a system called IBIS which is yet to be shared with other Caribbean countries.
The official added that the “very robust” firearms licensing system also assisted with the problem of illegal guns. Dottin said criminals gained access to firearms stockpiles, but said UNLIREC’s help they Barbados Defence Force were trying to solve the problem.
The commissioner also said there were several reports about the high level of violence and criminal use of firearms in the region, noting that there were regional countries where more than 80 per cent of all the murders were committed with firearms. (MR)