Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended a two-day crime symposium in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, declaring war on guns and urging the United States to join.
“We declare a War on Guns to combat the illegal trade which provides the weapons that contribute significantly to crime and violence in our Region causing death, disabilities and compromising the safety of our citizens,” an end-of-symposium declaration asserted.
The symposium, amid a deadly gun violence spike in several CARICOM states, addressed crime and violence as a public health issue.
The leaders registered their grave concern at the increased illegal gun exports from the United States.
Their declaration described the situation as a ‘direct threat to our democracy.’
“We call on the United States of America to join the Caribbean in our War on Guns and urgently adopt and take action to stop the illegal exportation of firearms and ammunition into the Caribbean,” the document stated.
“We lament the disproportionate share of our national budgets that we are compelled to allocate to measures to address crime, violence and national security as well as mental health and other health-related challenges, that directly result from the illegal exportation of guns to our region,” the leaders said.
In addition, they underscored their commitment to utilising all human, financial, and other resources to rid the Region of the scourge of illicit weapons.
“We reiterate that the Caribbean must be a Zone of Peace, which will allow us to achieve our goal of a secure, stable and prosperous Community for all our citizens,” the CARICOM leaders’ declaration noted.