BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - BAHAMAS Prime Minister Phillip Davis is calling on the United States to do more to prevent the trafficking of weapons into the island and the wider Caribbean region, as some of those guns have been found to be involved in crimes in Nassau.
The Bahamas is not alone in linking weapons to crimes, as earlier this year Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy confirmed that weapons involved in several homicides were linked to some individuals in Georgia in the United States and also in the United Kingdom.
Addressing Commissioners of Police from across the region at the opening of the 36th Conference of the Caribbean Commissioners of Police, Davis pointed out that the police were able to link a weapon to an individual in the United States who had purchased 40 firearms.
“Illicit guns basically end up in the hands of criminals contributing to a high number of gun-related injuries and deaths. More than 90 percent of guns confiscated are used as murder weapons in The Bahamas can be traced back to American manufacturers and gun shops,” noted PM Davis.
The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force had raised similar concerns, noting that there are no gun manufacturers close by or within the Caribbean, but weapons continue to turn up on the streets in the Federation.
The Federation has reported double digit homicide on average over the last decade, with statistics revealing that 2014 (24), 2015 (29), 2016 (32) and 2017/2018 (23) being the most deadly years over the decade.
“I call these figures so we can relate to the amount of homicides that have been committed in our Federation for the last 10 years. And on an average we have been seeing 21 homicides,” Brandy told graduates earlier this year.
During that period, the Federation averaged double digit homicides being carried out by guns. According to Brandy, 17 out of 21 homicides on average were carried out by weapons, which were believed to have been smuggled into the Federation.
That supports the position articulated by Davis that it continues to pose a problem for the region, and The Bahamian Prime Minister has been able to raise the issue with senior officials within the United States “that the right to bear arms in the United States do not also mean the right to traffick in those arms to the Caribbean countries”.
“And hopefully our voices on this issue will continue to be heard and acted upon. And we expect to see some new initiatives in this regard, in so far as one Bahamian, for example, in American standard was able to buy 40 weapons in two or three gun shops over a period of one month. And within 10 days one of those weapons was found to be used here in The Bahamas,” explained Davis.
He questioned where the other weapons were, emphasising the fact that the laxed gun laws in the United States could impact The Bahamas in the North to Trinidad in the South.
The Top Cops were charged with the responsibility of examining how they could move the region forward and develop a more cohesive partnership that builds on the existing relationship within the region.
Chiding the Commissioners, Davis said that there is a need for more efficacy, while pointing out that there is a need for the integration of more modern technologies to optimize information sharing on trafficking of weapons.