The trafficking of guns has seemingly turned into a family affair in Barbados. Added to that, the police service has also identified active gun trading activity on the island.
The island’s top cop today expressed concern that the persons responsible for bringing illegal guns into Barbados were now being assisted by family members.
Commissioner of Police Richard Boyce said investigations by the Barbados Police Service had revealed the troubling development even as law enforcement continued to uncover illegal firearms at an alarmingly high rate.
“In addition to the overseas activity, what has been discovered is that family members of persons who reside in the island are getting onboard now and facilitating the movement of firearms from one jurisdiction to our jurisdiction and that is [of] some concern to us.
“That is something that must be called out, something that must be highlighted and action taken against, because once we identify those persons then our partners will work with us and we will bring that situation under control,” Boyce said during a press conference on Friday afternoon at the police’s Roebuck Street headquarters.
Boyce said they had partnered with authorities from the US in an effort to put a bigger dent in the gun trafficking business.
“We are working with our international stakeholders in having this situation brought under control. Yes, the American Firearm and Tobacco arm of the US, they are working intimately, consistently and long-term with us, in wrestling this problem of firearms to the ground. It is an ongoing business, a daily business that we would correspond and it is working very well and things are moving in the right direction where that is concerned.
The commissioner disclosed that for the year 75 firearms had been recovered, more than double the number taken in 2021.
“I must say that on a daily basis we are recovering firearms. Currently we are at 75 firearms in recovery and when we compare that to just 36 or so that were recovered last year that is a tremendous divide between last year’s recovery and this year’s recovery.
“So our inputs, our tactics are working in terms of recovery of firearms and that is something that is ongoing and we intend to continue that for a very, very long time,” Boyce said.
He said investigations had also revealed that gun trading was taking place in Barbados.
Boyce said the persons who were engaging in the illegal practice were well-known to each other but now at war.
“In terms of persons who are getting engaged in this firearms issue, what we discovered is that they are persons who are well known to each other; persons who would have gone to school together, persons who as we would say, pitched marbles together, travelled on school buses together, these are the persons who are against each other’s throats.
“…Yes we are well aware that firearms are a trade commodity. Persons are very much involved in the whole trading of firearms, whether it is lending, whether it is selling or buying. There is a market for them and we have to dismantle that market,” Boyce said.
Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, David Griffith also noted that the same firearm had been used in more than one shooting incident.
Boyce said the police would also be paying extra attention to the island’s ports of entry to ensure that illegal firearms could not pass through undetected.