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OAS Donates Firearms Marking Machine to Trinidad and Tobago

  November 17, 2011

The Organization of American States (OAS) today donated a firearms marking machine to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to be used by its Ministry of Home Affairs with the objective of combating the illicit trafficking of firearms. This initiative, which is currently being implemented in various countries of the region, forms part of the efforts outlined by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, and serves to exemplify the Organization as a strategic actor in the fight against crime.

The machine was presented during a ceremony held in the framework of the Third Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas (MISPA III), to take place in Trinidad and Tobago today and tomorrow. The event was attended by Secretary General Insulza; the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Kamala Persad-Bissessar; and Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, which is financing the project.

The OAS Secretary General congratulated the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and stressed that "as a result of this program, it is expected that thousands of weapons are marked throughout the hemisphere and that all Member States will have effective policies and legislation in place to support this important and relatively inexpensive practice."

"Through these and other initiatives, the OAS will continue to promote efforts that strengthen the capacity of all Member States to respond, quickly and efficiently, to the growing levels of crime and violence generated by firearms trafficking," said Secretary General Insulza.

Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar said she was grateful to receive the marking team and thanked the OAS for "letting us be part of this regional project, designed to assist countries in combating the illicit trafficking of arms." "The police service is committed to mark 300 weapons per month in the first 12 months of the agreement," she said. She also extended her thanks to the United States government for its help in funding the program.

Attorney General Holder expressed his government’s satisfaction in helping increase weapons marking capabilities in Latin America and the Caribbean, adding that "the OAS has demonstrated its commitment to address this safety concern through interactive participation in this program."

Together with the marking machine, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago also received a computer to facilitate the process of maintaining marked firearms data. In addition, the Public Security Department of the OAS is scheduled to conduct a training workshop with ten police officials, focusing on the use of firearms marking equipment.

As its primary goal, the OAS seeks to strengthen the national capabilities of its Member States to respond, in an effective and efficient manner, to the increasing levels of crime and violence caused by illicit trafficking in firearms. In this regard, the OAS will cooperate with the countries of the region so that all of its Member States may as quickly as possible establish policies and legislation to mark firearms at the time of manufacture and/or import.

A gallery of photos of the event are available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-964/11