United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, has announced the appointment of his country’s very first coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions.
He disclosed that Michael Ben’Ary – a very experienced Department of Justice Prosecutor, would serve in the role.
Blinken spoke last week at the beginning of discussions with CARICOM Heads of Government.
In announcing Ben’Ary’s appointment, the United States Secretary of State explained that his country and CARICOM were working to address the shared priority of stemming the rising tide of violent crime.
Blinken observed that violent crime was devastatingly impacting communities across the region, especially young people, hurting local businesses, undercutting foreign investment, and eroding citizen trust in their governments.
He noted that last July, Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
It included new federal provisions that increase criminal penalties to up to 15 years in jail for traffickers, straw purchasers.
“This is a tool that’s vital for holding accountable those who smuggle U.S. arms to the Caribbean,” the United States Secretary of State explained.
In addition, he said the United States supported the creation of CARICOM’s new Crime Gun Intelligence Unit, which is improving information sharing among law enforcement agencies and strengthening the capacity of countries to investigate gun-related crimes.
Last month, United States Vice President Kamala Harris said the Joe Biden administration was committed to disrupting firearms trafficking in the Caribbean.