New scanners to be installed at Ports and AIA as Gov’t fights gun trade

By Admin. Updated 12:00 p.m., Friday, February 24, 2023, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

New scanners will be installed at the country’s two main ports and at the Argyle International Airport as the government enhances measures to fight the illegal trade in firearms.

According to a press release from the Agency for Public Information – API, the procurement and installation of the new scanners are part of a series of enhanced security measures by the government.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on Thursday 23rd, 2023, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, poses a serious threat to citizen security, the API’s release stated.

In addition to the scanners at ports of entry, Government will engage the services of a security expert commissioned to provide support for the further strengthening of the operational mechanism to combat the trade in illicit weapons. According to the Prime Minister, an estimated 100 million dollars have already been allocated to the security, law and order apparatuses of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the release stated.

Dr. Gonsalves said the matter was raised at the level of CELAC and since most of these illicit firearms originate out of the United States, his government strongly encourages the United States Federal Government to take a more proactive approach in dealing with the issue, the release stated.

On December 16, 2022, police said they seized, inna joint operation with the Customs Department, multiple weapons including a high-powered rifle, 9-millimeter pistols, and ammunition powerful enough to go through a bulletproof vest.

The weapons were intercepted at the port in Kingstown on December 15.

One person was arrested and is a suspect.

The weapons that were imported into SVG include six handguns and two rifles, and 200 rounds of 7.62 ammunition.

After that, police has discovered and seized weapons in Rose Place and Bower Mountains.

According to the API press release today (February 24), the Prime Minister asserted, “We are requesting the Federal Government in the United States to take to its Congress for ratification the United Nations Treaty on Small Arms, which covers assault weapons, and to implement a practical and stringent regime to control the export of illicit weapons.”

Dr. Gonsalves noted that the majority of weapons are entering the country in cargo containers, televisions and other imported items even though many of the transactions, usually involving the trade in narcotics, occurs at sea. In light of this, the Prime Minister said that the Regional Security System (RSS) is also focused on ramping up border security and surveillance at sea and on land, the release stated.

During a collaborative regional exercise with INTERPOL and the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), Operation Trigger VII, held from September 20th – 30th 2022, intercepted 346 firearms and 3328 rounds of ammunition, the API’s release further stated.

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