The Government is to acquire two firearm marking machines to assist with efforts to stem the illegal trafficking in small arms.
The Dot Peen machines will allow the authorities to trace weapons by placing marks on them, which cannot be easily erased, should they fall into the possession of criminals.
They will be procured by the Ministry of National Security as part of a co-operation agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS), which was signed Thursday March 29, at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, who signed the agreement with the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, said the machines will be used to mark weapons used by civilians and the security forces.
“We plan to use one of these machines at the Firearm Licensing Authority, which will be responsible for marking all the licensed firearms imported into Jamaica for civilian use, and the second machine will go to the forensic lab and they will be responsible for marking all the weapons that will be used by the security forces,” he outlined.
The Minister said the Government is pleased to be a part of the regional effort to stem the illicit trafficking of small arms, and “we look forward to further strengthening and deepening the co-operation between all the member states of the OAS and Jamaica in this very important task."
“We have signed a number of protocols becoming part of this international effort and we very much welcome this assistance which will take us a long way…to be able to understand how the illicit traffickers move weapons within the Caribbean and the wider Americas,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Insulza noted that the OAS is involved in all issues dealing with national and domestic security, and aims to help countries combat “a scourge (small arms trafficking) that is becoming more organised, unfortunately, in the Americas and is certainly a transnational phenomenon."
He said that the issue of gun smuggling has become “more troublesome,” as the number of crimes committed with firearms in the region are higher than any other place in the world.
“What we want to do is to have a marking of the guns, so that we will know where the illegalities are committed and where the guns come from and that’s why we are working on this project to provide countries with machines to mark the weapons,” The Secretary General explained.
He further informed that there is a Convention on the fabrication, trade, smuggling, and the illegal sale of weapons, which Jamaica has already signed, but which still needs to be ratified, noting that a major drive of the OAS is to “push ratification by all countries."
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter