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OAS and the Governments of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Sign Agreement on the Promotion of Firearms Marking

  April 15, 2011

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Governments of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines today signed a cooperation agreement for the implementation of the project, “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean,” at Organization headquarters in Washington, DC.

During a signing ceremony, OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza expressed satisfaction with the initiative and explained that with this project “we aim to provide thirty countries with marking equipment, training and computer aid necessary for proper record keeping of the weapons that they mark, and that they confiscate illegally.” The high-level official remarked also that “over the last decade reported murders in CARICOM Member States of the OAS have doubled. This violence is something that no Caribbean country produces, they don’t produce drugs and they don’t manufacture weapons and in spite of that they are being attacked by this evil that is dangerous in the region.”

“Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Kitts and Nevis are number six and seven in signing this cooperation agreement and I hope that many countries will come forward to do the same”, noted the Secretary General.

The Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the OAS, Ambassador Jacinth Lorna Henry-Martin, thanked the hemispheric institution and the United States for the funding provided and stated that “the marking of fire arms for us provides an opportunity for the setting of standards in controlling and tracking the arms that circulate within our sub-region and our hemisphere. It requires licenses, serves to provide checkpoints and establishes a mechanism for information sharing between the member states of the OAS,” the Caribbean diplomat said.

Similarly, the Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the OAS, Ambassador La Celia A. Prince, highlighted the importance of the agreement and affirmed that “we now have the facility to mark the firearms that come into our country and by tracing it we believe that we will be able to stem the urgency of the problem.”

Ambassador Prince was also grateful to the OAS and the US State Department for “making this cooperation agreement a reality to ensure our citizens’ security in the Grenadines and within the hemisphere”.

For his part, Steven R. Costner, Deputy Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement of the US Department of State, congratulated the two Caribbean nations for “taking this important step” and emphasized the significance of the initiative: “to be able to properly trace illicit weapons we need to have effective record keeping and to have recording keeping it is very important to be able to properly mark those weapons. So this is a very important process that can help identify where illicit weapons come from, potentially address sources, trafficking routes and give us better information so we can collectively combat such illicit trafficking.”

The agreement was signed within the framework of the XII Meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), held on April 15 at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC

A gallery of photos of the event are available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-629/11