Acknowledging a noticeable increase of illegal firearms on the island, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite suggested today that strengthening areas of weakness in Barbados was key to stopping the inflow of these weapons.
Speaking to the media after the opening of a one-day seminar for the 2015 Graduation Class of St Philip’s Primary School, Brathwaite indicated that the guns issue, which was a matter of regional concern, should be addressed at next week’s CARICOM summit, taking place here from July 2-4 at the Hilton.
“Whether it be through the port, whether it be at the airport, etc, . . . we really need everyone to step up to the plate. My concern is that there is a level of dishonesty that needs to be addressed,” Brathwaite said.
He went on: “The firearms cannot come in unless there is collusion at our borders. Yes, some will come through via boats etc., but they are being shipped in here. It means that either people are not doing what they are supposed to do, or that they have turned a blind eye when they should not.”
According to Brathwaite, the issue of illegal firearms was not just one for the Royal Barbados Police Force, which is reporting evidence of an increasing number of unauthorized firearms on the streets.
“Police are saying to me that is of concern to them, that there are actually newer and newer firearms entering the country. When they go to crime scenes, they are seeing new cartridges. So this means of course that these chaps out there are having access to more weapons and of course, more ammunition,” Brathwaite said.
Nevertheless, the minister gave an assurance that Barbados did not have a crime situation that was spiraling out of control. He compared statistics from the 1960’s to the present, pointing out that the average rate of reported crime stood at about 9 000 complaints per year.