Categorized | National News

US Plans to Tackle Gun Trafficking into Haiti

By Keile Campbell

Journal Staff Writer

A new policing unit is expected to be established in Haiti to address the matter of guns being trafficked into the country, a matter that the United States is having active discussions about, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti Barbara Feinstein.

Her response came after she was asked about illegal weapons trafficking that are arming the gangs that are wreaking havoc on the nation of Haiti.

“In Haiti, we are in the process of establishing a Transnational Criminal Investigation Unit within the Haitian national police that will include vetted personnel working with the Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and others to look at the issue of firearms trafficking, to leverage the e-trace system, for example, that can track serial numbers [of firearms] to their point of origin in the United States so that these cases can be put together and prosecutions can take place,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Feinstein said.

She added that the U.S is appreciative of similar illegal weapons units in other Caribbean countries as well as CARICOM’s cooperation in addressing the issue and acknowledged that the matter of gun trafficking isn’t quantified to one nation, but a whole region.

“The United States has been a strong supporter of the Crime Gun Intelligence Unit in Trinidad and Tobago, with support also from CARICOM impacts, and that is a regional effort to look at issues around gun trafficking since we recognize that rarely does it happen in one country. There’s usually a network going across the Caribbean and elsewhere. So, to the extent, we can leverage all of these tools, we think that we’ll be in a much more comprehensive position to address gun trafficking in Haiti and the broader Caribbean,” she said.

The deputy assistant secretary of state reiterated efforts made to address the issue in the form of a newly created position to address international gun trafficking and the Safe Communities Act signed by U.S. President Joe Biden last year, which should go towards stricter punishments for international weapons trafficking.

She acknowledged, however, that it is only “one piece of the equation.”

“With respects to arms trafficking, we recognize that is a critical issue in Haiti as well as the broader Caribbean and is something we are very dedicated to addressing head-on,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Feinstein said.

“You may have seen an announcement by Vice President Harris when she was in Nassau in June and followed by a further announcement by Secretary [of State] Blinken in July regarding the creation of a new position within the Department of Justice, first ever Coordinator for Caribbean Firearms Prosecutions and the naming of a very experienced prosecutor to that end.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis, on multiple occasions, spoke on record and joined the chorus call for accountability from the United States with regards to gun trafficking from the U.S into the Caribbean.

Back in June of last year, the nation’s leader said, “We do not manufacture guns. Not a single gun is made in The Bahamas. We have witnessed an explosion in gun-related crimes, crimes that far too often end in major injury or murder.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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