The Government of Barbados is on the war path to shoot down the “unnecessary” importation of guns, as the Attorney General expresses worry over a rising number of people applying for licences.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a business luncheon organized by the Barbados International Business Association at Hilton Barbados Resort this afternoon, Adriel Brathwaite lamented that there were guns in the hands of too many people in this country.
“It is something we have to talk about. I know that in some jurisdictions, somebody is saying, why don’t you try a gun amnesty . . . . There are many jurisdictions that have done that and it hasn’t meant automatically that more weapons have been off the street. We have not had that discussion recently, but rather than off the street, I am trying to get them from out of the country all together,” Brathwaite declared.
“We have developed in this country, unfortunately, a gun culture, because, it’s not only the guys who are using the illegal weapons, but almost every Barbadian now seem to want a weapon,” the Government minister suggested.
He said Barbados needed to return to the days when one did not believe one needed a gun to solve every issue.
“I think so. That’s the information I have been receiving,” the Attorney General responded, when asked if more people were applying for gun licences.
While registering his sympathy at the most recent gun-related murder in The City area, Brathwaite however referred to an overall drop in crime of five per cent last year.
“We all know that we have issues in terms of illegal weapons in this country. We all know that, in fact, in the old days that a fellow would throw a rock at you. Nowadays he throws a bullet at you. What we now need to do and what we are doing, is trying to see how we can address the whole issue of weapons into this country. We are working hard [on it],” he told reporters.
“You see the ingenious ways that criminals are using, breaking down weapons in televisions . . . . we have to address the whole issue of containers, for example,” stated the Attorney General.
He said this would include more effective ways of scanning containers.
“Because if a guy says he is bringing in 500 televisions, certainly Customs, I don’t believe goes and unpacks every television . . . . Say, can you open the backs of each one and let’s have a look? So we need to have the equipment to scan them; so we need to pay attention to that,” Brathwaite asserted.
He said there were some areas, based on what this country’s international partners were informing him, that Barbados can expect certain challenges this year with respect to crime and security.
“The issue of gangs,” the Government minister explained, “because, what they are saying to us, that they are seeing more and more guys [gangsters], regionally, speaking to each other and of course, technology allows fellows to pick up a telephone and call his friend in Jamaica, et cetera.”
He cited “the whole issue” of drugs coming through the region. Brathwaite suggested that the successes in Mexico and Colombia have meant that the Caribbean has been seen for the last two years, as a trans-shipment point.
“Barbados is not just a trans-shipment point; that in fact, we do have the prevalence of drugs and in particular, marijuana use in this country; so it’s something that we have to address.”