The issue of illegal guns entering borders of Caribbean countries and its related violence were among the topics discussed at the Regional Security System (RSS) Council of Ministers Meeting on Wednesday, where Member States were told that the issue of corruption must also be treated to deal with the problem of illegal firearms.
The high-level meeting took place in Grenada.
Executive Director -RSS, Commodore Errington Shurland, says while over the past year, the Region has been relatively quiet in terms of Member States not being impacted by climatic events or severe weather systems, he says there has been a noticeable increase in gun violence which has had a deleterious effect on some Member States.
Commodore Shurland says this violence is taking a heavy toll on societies not only in respect of loss of life but also with injuries and psychological trauma.
In replying to this challenge, he posits that hard and soft responses must be applied through a whole-of-society approach.
Soft through constant positive messaging to young people with the aid of social development programmes, that constantly target troubled youth and programmes that address issues related to recidivism.
He says the hard responses require the commitment to put in place the necessary infrastructure to secure borders and prevent guns from entering the space as well as treat the issues of corruption.
“I say corruption because I believe the only way these guns can get into our countries is through our borders and through individuals who facilitate such actions.”
Commodore Shurland said the RSS looks forward to assisting Member States with diagnosing crime and security problems through the Regional Crime Observatory.
The RSS will continue to implement and assist with anti-corruption programmes and will continue to assist and enhance the border security framework through robust assessments and adjustments to the coordinated response model.
RSS Member States include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.