NEW YORK, USA (CUOPM) -- St Kitts and Nevis has commended the United States administration of President Barack Obama for the assistance to the twin-island Federation and the Caribbean in the fight against narco-trafficking and criminality and, in calling for an international arms trade treaty, said more needs to be done to stamp out the illegal small arms trade into the Caribbean
“On behalf of my government, I must take the time, here, to express our deep appreciation to the United States of America for its highly valued support, in the form of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, offered to both my country as well as our region, in our fight against drugs and criminality. This also addresses the issue of reform that is required to ensure that our youth embrace renewed alternatives to lives of unproductivity and look towards a new hope for peace and prosperity through respect for human life. This is of great importance to us,” St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas said in an address on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly.
He said in spite of the efforts in that area, the continuing flow of foreign-made small arms into the Caribbean region is of great concern.
“Again, originating beyond our shores, these weapons have dire consequences both in terms of human life as well as the economic stability of our nations. We are aware that changing cultural values are influencing the use of weapons by some in our nations. And we understand the importance of focused and effective policing and partnership on matters of security,” said Douglas.
He used the occasion to urge the international community to see as an absolute priority the production of a much-needed and long-overdue arms trade treaty.
“The interests of democratic nations everywhere cry out for the establishment of international standards and controls governing the illicit flow of conventional weapons, and I urge the establishment of a dedicated secretariat to assist state parties in this regard,” said Douglas.
Pointing to what he termed the misfortune of Caribbean nations located between regions of massive drug production and regions of massive drug consumption, the St Kitts and Nevis prime minister said small arms and light weapons always follow illegal drugs and “we in the Caribbean are simply not equipped to deal with the externally created crime fallout.”
“And on that point, I wish to stress that before its closure, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime provided critical hands-on collaboration in this high-priority area of crime fighting. With its presence now having been withdrawn, the vital support that we need simply is not there, leaving us to adjust as best we can - at precisely the time when drug and deportee-related crimes, continue to be a major hemispheric challenge,” said Douglas to world leaders.