US officials to visit TT this week to discuss illegal firearms

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US officials to visit TT this week to discuss illegal firearms

The United States Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Justice Associate Deputy Attorney General, will be in Trinidad and Tobago this week, to discuss combatting illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking. 

A release issued by the U.S, Embassy confirms that Ambassador Todd D. Robinson and ADAG Michael P. Ben’Ary will meet with senior T&T Government officials from May 8 to 10, 2024, “to discuss collaborative strategies to strengthen regional security and combat transnational crime.”

ADAG Ben’Ary also serves as the U.S. Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecution.  Ambassador Robinson previously served as Senior Advisor for Central America in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in Washington, DC., as well as the Chargé d’Affaires in Caracas, Venezuela, and the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala.

“The visit underscores the United States’ commitment to increased cooperation with Trinidad and Tobago law enforcement agencies towards combatting illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking,” the U.S. Embassy statement noted.

In addition to meetings with top T&T officials, Ambassador Robinson and ADAG Ben’Ary will meet with senior leaders of the CARICOM Implementational Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

In addition, both men are scheduled to visit the Crime Gun Intelligence Unit (CGIU) to further discuss the impact of illicit firearms trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago and the region. 

The CGIU was inaugurated in November 2022 by CARICOM IMPACS, with U.S. support.  The Unit was formed to improve intelligence and information sharing among Caribbean and U.S. law enforcement agencies. 

In June 2023, during a meeting in the Bahamas with CARICOM leaders, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the U.S.’ commitment to disrupting illegal firearms trafficking with the creation of the position of Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions.

One month later, at CARICOM’s 50th anniversary plenary in Port of Spain, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced ADAG Ben’Ary’s appointment as the U.S. Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecution, whose mission is to increase the level of firearms trafficking investigations and prosecutions, as well as implement the provisions of the U.S. Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.