may press release banner.GIF (28717 bytes)



May 12, 1998

Trinidad and Tobago today ratified a hemispheric convention designed to step up the war on illegal firearms, a move the Organization of American States (OAS) has hailed as "pioneering."

The Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials, as it is formally known, was adopted by the OAS "not very long ago," the OAS assistant secretary general, Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas stressed. He pointed out that it was encouraging that one of the smaller countries of the hemisphere was among the early ones ratifying the treaty, "in an area that has plagued the international community and hemisphere."

Given the damaging effect unlawful firearms have had on the hemisphere's overall economic development, the OAS official expressed the hope that early ratification by other OAS member states would help rid the countries of one of the toughest scourges, while advancing socio-economic development.

Signing for the twin-island republic, Ambassador Michael Arneaud, permanent representative to the OAS, denounced illegally-made and obtained firearms, which he described as an "attendant ill" to the major threat the region faced from drug trafficking. He also observed that the growing terrorism unleashed on the countries over the last decade got strength from illicitly obtained firearms and explosives.

Restating Trinidad and Tobago's commitment to the goal of the convention, Arneaud, who is also ambassador to the USA, called for extreme efforts to be pursued to ensure a peaceful and stable environment in which to live. "We owe it to our people--in particular, to our children."

<--Press Releases