A report, set to be released this morning, has revealed that criminals are using technology to convert their weapons from simple handguns to high powered weapons.
The Caribbean Firearms Study, which was done over two years by Caricom IMPACS and the Small Arms Survey (SAS), found that the rate of lethal violence in the Caribbean for 2020 was almost three times the global rate, with firearms used in more than half of the Caribbean’s homicides.
The report is the first comprehensive, evidence-based study on illicit firearms in the Caribbean region.
SAS’ head of Data and Analytics, Nicolas Florquin, in a GML interview ahead of the report’s release, said: “We are seeing a range of new types of firearms making it into the illicit market, especially so-called ghost guns that are basically unfinished parts of guns which can then be used to produce a real gun but those are harder to detect and can be smuggled in parts and components.”
“Those are little devices that are put into a semi-automatic rifle and pistol and turn them into fully automatic weapons and Trinidad and Tobago has seized quite a few of them over the past two to three years,” he said.
Florquin described those devices as a growing problem among the criminal element in the region.
Added to the problem is the fact that these devices are quite easy to make and are affordable, according to Caricom IMPACS executive director, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Jones, who also spoke in the GML interview.
SAS data expert Anne-Severine Fabre said the two-year survey showed that trafficking is the main reason guns are coming into the region and this is mostly through maritime means.
The Caribbean Firearms Report will be launched today at the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Firearms Study 2023.