WASHINGTON, CMC – The Bahamas has signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) for the implementation of the project “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Ambassador Cornelius Smith, the Permanent Representative of The Bahamas said that the project “is very important for my country because we have become a transit point for drugs and small arms.”
“The marking of firearms helps us identify the weapons that have been used in criminal activity, and therefore helps to combat crime in the region.”
The OAS also signed similar accords with Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
The agreement, signed within the framework of the activities held to implement the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials (CIFTA), aims to strengthen national capacities in this area and provide marking equipment and training to beneficiary countries.
OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said that “as with many other activities, the OAS tries not only to be the repository of the policies that direct our hemisphere in this area, but we also intend to support members states in the development and strengthening of national capacities to implement these agreements.
“In this case, to combat illicit-arms trafficking through different tools: providing advice on the development of model legislation, exchange of best practices, gathering and analyzing statistical information, and offering technical assistance, etc.”
The Secretary General thanked the Bahamas and the other Latin American countries for their commitment in the fight against crime adding “we are all encouraged by the hope of saving the lives of children, youth, women and men who might be victimized by a gun trafficked in this way.”
The OAS said that all four countries were grateful to the United States for the financial support for the programme.
Along with El Salvador, these four countries are the first five to adhere to such an agreement in the framework of CIFTA, an instrument that emphasizes that the marking of firearms contributes to combat illicit firearms trafficking as it allows authorities to identify the seized weapons to determine their origin.