Amendments coming to Firearms Act

With concern that gun violence is at an all-time high, Government has announced plans to amend the Firearms Act in effort to tighten control and stem the inflow of guns.

That revelation came from Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General Deborah Payne, who did not give any details, only noting that the authorities would speed up the country’s compliance in the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) of 2014, which would in turn significantly curtail gun importation into the region.

“I am pleased to indicate that efforts are in train to amend and revise our Firearms Act to ensure Barbados’s compliance under the treaty. When implemented, this legislation would not only assist with the tightening of firearm control in Barbados, but it will also provide a legal framework to aid with production of reports,” said Payne, who was delivering opening remarks at the practical seminar on Fulfilling Arms Trade Treaty reporting obligations in the CARICOM region at the Radisson Aquatica Resort today.

By mandating that its signatories put national controls in place, the ATT broadens the network of national-level controls in a way that gives the international community a new tool to identify and interdict the illegal trade in arms. The increase in the number of countries that regulate this trade also means a drop in the volume of unregulated trade. Before the ATT, only just over 50 countries had control systems in place. Today, 92 countries, including Barbados, have come on board.

Payne lamented that, according to statistics provided by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, “68 per cent of homicides in the region were committed through the use firearms, compared to just 13 per cent in the European Union”.

“These statistics paint a grave picture of the plight of the region, especially when one considers that Caribbean states are not manufacturers of weapons. To further highlight the extent of this scourge, it is estimated that there are over 1.6 million illegal firearms in region.

“As you are aware, the movement of these weapons is linked to international drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime and will ultimately impact citizen security. It is this harsh reality that underscores Barbados’ strong support for this treaty. It is therefore envisaged that the robust implementation of the terms of the treaty will reduce the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in the region,” she added.

The Permanent Secretary stressed that it was only through accurate reporting that consistent application of the ATT could be achieved, and she urged the region’s signatories to play their part in this respect.

However, she asserted that consideration should be given to those who were lagging in their reporting protocols, since the process could be quite challenging.

“As representatives from a small island developing state, we can relate to the reporting burden which treaties demand. This concern has been raised by several member states….The adoption of comprehensive reporting templates and the making of public reporting mandatory have been key objectives of some member states. Barbados shares that view, but also asserts that consideration must be given to those states for whom reporting is a challenge,” Payne said while lauding the timeliness of the seminar.

10 Responses to Amendments coming to Firearms Act

  1. jrsmith July 7, 2017 at 5:05 am

    Here we go again , a crooked government person on the soap box, what is needed in barbados to catch the customs officers and the big criminals , who is allowing the drugs and guns to flow through our our ports freely…………………….. This attempt is to make sure the government dont upset the people, who is above the law in barbados and who are protected ……….
    This is a lame sad wicked , arrogant excuse showing up how disrespectful the politicians think of black bajans…………………

  2. Mr Progressive July 7, 2017 at 5:45 am

    Sorry Mrs Payne but that can help with the gun problem, check the fishermen and those at sea also get current and xrays all barrels and merchant containers entering Barbados and that will surly help in reducing the numbers considerably we had to declare war on gun more car personal searches also at fetes blocks and some homes so intel and would be importantalso use profiling it helps

  3. Tony Webster July 7, 2017 at 6:06 am

    ??? If ILLEGAL firearms are our problem, reports on legal imports/transactions seem of doubtful value. If however, a procees whereby confiscated illegal guns are reported (to the country of manufacture , eg, the USA ), and a process of tracing tracing; plus tough follow-up action to pin-point the tactics/individulas/routes being taken to get them through our borders, we could perhaps make gains in intelligence, and help our efforts to choke-off the supply. Thie article ( or the conference) however makes no mention of the practical real of the (neglected) treaty.

  4. Santini More
    Santini More July 7, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Somebody would need to explain to me how this high level amendment is going to remove the significant amount of illegal firearms currently in circulation in Barbados. We are in the midst of an escalating gun crisis, we need action now!

    • Epaphras D. Williams
      Epaphras D. Williams July 7, 2017 at 7:24 am

      I find it interesting that there is guesswork around the origin of the guns the police seize. They release no information whatsoever about the guns used in crimes. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • Wayne P Hoyte
      Wayne P Hoyte July 7, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Santini if you know here there are help out the country

  5. Alex Alleyne July 7, 2017 at 7:58 am

    When are you guys going to get serious.

  6. Frank White July 7, 2017 at 8:35 am

    As far as I read, this is just a lot of fancy talk to show the masses that, hey look, we are doing something about the guns on our streets but in reality, the real culprits are not being targeted…

    Firearms have serial numbers…

    A woman walked into a cave and interviewed Bin Laden and the U.S. Military couldn’t find him, go figure…

  7. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner July 7, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Ok typical political b/s is it going to stop illegal weapons those are the problem also what about going after the folks who got the financial means to bring in illegal weapons into Bim.Stop trying to pretend like these cats on the block got any power to bring in weapons because these cats can’t even buy a cold coke on a hot day and while ya all at it seriously investigate both air /seaports and the coastline.Also inspect fishing and pleasure boats but in typical Bajan style politicians gine keep talking crap and hope problem goes away..

  8. G Jemmott July 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I find it interesting that there are people critical of the step/s taken however small in the eyes of some. If the government does nothing it gets criticize if it signs a treaty it gets criticize. The illegal guns are already on the streets, they have to attempt to stop anymore from coming into the country.


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