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Caribbean Satisfied With UN Small Arms Trade Treaty

Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries yesterday expressed satisfaction with the roles they played in a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The  countries voted in favor of the treaty on Tuesday to regulate the $70-billion global trade in small arms, light weapons and ammunition.

Lead Caricom negotiator, Ambassador Eden Charles of Trinidad and Tobago, speaking on behalf of the 14 Caricom states, said that the U.N. system “had adopted an instrument to prevent divergence, that is the movement of small arms to countries and parties to whom they were not intended, and used for illegal activities, including activities related to drug trafficking.”

A statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Trinidad and Tobago later quoted Charles as saying that the governments and people of the region “now have an international instrument which has the potential in the near future to supplement their efforts at preventing the diversion to the illicit market of conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons, their ammunition, as well as parts and components”.

The diplomat said that the illegal arms trade, which is associated with international drug trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime, has negatively impacted societies of Caricom.

He said that the ATT can assist Caricom countries in maximizing the use of existing agreements and in concluding new ones for mutual legal assistance in investigations and prosecutions in addressing violations of the treaty.

Caricom was among the diverse grouping of states, crossing different political and legal systems, from developed and developing countries, from exporters and importers of conventional arms, that welcomed the ATT as a necessary instrument for ensuring that states are responsible and accountable in the conduct of their trade in conventional arms.

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