Vulnerable youths and illicit guns | Local News |

The first-ever Caribbean Firearms Study, introduced recently at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel in Port of Spain, not just indicated the high rates of violence in the area “mostly related to gangs and worsened by the accessibility and usage of illegal guns”, however likewise highlighted the vulnerability of youths.

The 2023 research study was collectively performed and released by the Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the Small Arms Survey, an independent research study job found at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Source: Caribbean Firearms Study 2023

Source: Caribbean Firearms Study2023

It was produced from information and info gathered from13 of the15 Caricom member states, and from22 Caribbean states in overall.

As part of the job, a research study group carried out interviews with77 jail prisoners serving firearm-related sentences in Belize (17interviews), Suriname (30) and Trinidad and Tobago(30).

The prisoners were put behind bars in the Belize Central Prison in Belize; the Penitentiary Duisburg, the Central Penitentiary, and your home of Remand in Suriname; and the Port of Spain Prison, the&Maximum Security Prison and the Carrera Prison in T&T.

According to the report coming out of the research study, most of prisoners reported being14 years of ages when they initially accessed an unlawful gun.

The youngest, it kept in mind, was simply 6 years of ages and made the following declaration when inquired about how he initially accessed to a gun:

” I discovered a weapon in the area and I concealed it in your home and I was having fun with it every day,” he stated.

Only 5 percent of the interviewees showed very first getting access to guns above the age of 30, the report showed.

It stated the majority of the prisoners (3 out of 5) reported having actually finished just main school.

When inquired about the factors for getting (or seizing) an illegal gun, lots of prisoners showed self-protection, in addition to household and peers as being essential chauffeurs of gun belongings, the report kept in mind.

It reported that other prisoners stated the environment they resided in, consisting of the presence of regional criminality in their areas, structural concerns in their neighborhoods, or tough living conditions connected to hardship were likewise factors for getting illegal guns.

” It’s simply what’s occurring, it’s what’s around, it’s simply the environment, and you can’t punch a bullet, so when you have opponents who (are) tossing bullets at you, you need to have the ability to toss bullets back,” one prisoner was priced estimate as stating.

The report stated neighborhood members, household, buddies and the “street” were continually pointed out by the prisoners as sources or methods which to get a gun.


The local guns research study examined the scope and scale of guns holdings in the Caribbean area, recorded the kinds of illegal arms and ammo in flow and the mechanics of arms trafficking, and clarified the expenses of gun violence.

” It discovers that, in general, the area experiences high rates of violence, which is mostly related to gangs and intensified by the schedule and usage of illegal guns,” the report specified.

” Available information shows that the frustrating bulk of illegal guns in the Caribbean are pistols. With the noteworthy exception of Haiti, the criminal usage of rifles and associated ammo stays reasonably limited compared to some Central and North American states,” it stated.

It kept in mind that nations in the area typically work out rigorous controls on legal civilian holdings of guns, however deal with higher obstacles in dealing with illegal circulations of arms and ammo from abroad, consisting of from the United States.

And the mechanics of worldwide arms trafficking to the Caribbean are remarkably easy, the report included.

” To avert detection, smuggled weapons just require to be hidden all right to mix in with the countless genuine deliveries travelling through worldwide ports every day,” it stated.

The report stated while the United States domestic market is “plainly” a significant source of illegal guns in the Caribbean and is most likely the biggest source in some States and areas, it is not the only one.

” Firearms are likewise diverted from authorised end users in neighbouring states and trafficked to the Caribbean. In Belize, for example, many illegal arms and ammo appear to come from neighbouring states and are typically smuggled throughout the nation’s long and permeable land border,” the report mentioned.

” To date, the emerging hazards of the 3D printing of gun parts and elements, ghost weapons, and conversion gadgets have yet to get a grip in much of the area, and for the a lot of part the diversion of weapons from state and civilian holdings appears to be consisted of,” it included.

The report encouraged that keeping these brand-new obstacles at bay and attending to existing risks will need Caribbean nations to purchase violence-prevention programs and activities and assistance impacted neighborhoods, while mobilising and increasing using their intelligence, devices and regulative resources.

Presenting essential findings of the study, The University of the West Indies criminologist and head of The UWI’s Department of Criminology Dr Randy Seepersad kept in mind that although Caricom states and areas do not make guns and ammo, their broad accessibility in the area had actually added to high levels of violence and a generalised insecurity.

He stated in between 2016 and 2020, almost 31,500 individuals had actually lost their lives as an outcome of violence in the Caribbean area.

He stated more than 60 percent of these deaths took place in Caricom member states.

He kept in mind that Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Bahamas were amongst the nations with the greatest portions of firearms-related murders at 90, 84, 78 and 75 percent of overall murders, respectively.

Guns utilized in more than

half area’s murders

One of the crucial findings of the report was that the rate of violent deaths in Caricom member states was nearly 3 times the international average.

” Firearms are utilized in majority of all murders in the entire Caribbean area, and in some nations this percentage reaches 90 percent,” the report highlighted.

It stated comparable to patterns observed worldwide, boys under 30 years of age are both the most typical victims and criminals of weapon violence, in addition to of deadly violence in general in the area.

” Estimates for 2020 reveal that usually 90 percent of the victims of deadly violence in Caricom member states were males, which is more than the worldwide figure of 83 percent. This high percentage of male victims is carefully connected with gang-related dispute in the area, where males are most likely to be casualties,” the report stated.

It explained that the phenomenon seemed likewise connected to the expressions of masculinity gotten in touch with weapon usage and belongings.

As it associates with females, the report stated although they represent a little portion of deaths from violence in the Caribbean, ladies residing in Caricom locations are most likely to be victims of gun killings than ladies worldwide, with a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 population in Caricom nations, compared to 0.54 worldwide in 2020.

The research study likewise discussed the medical expense of weapon violence.

It discovered that the direct medical expenses and efficiency losses due to firearm-related violence total up to a minimum of US$49 million in the Bahamas, US$12 million in Barbados, and US$135 million in Jamaica for the year 2019.

” The typical medical expenses for dealing with a single gunshot injury go beyond health costs per capita, with ratios varying from 2:1 to 11:1 in the Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica. Usually, gun injuries tend to lead to greater medical expenses than injuries caused by sharp instruments and other systems, with various subtleties depending upon the nation,” the report suggested.


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