Minister of National Security the Hon. O.A. "Tommy" Turnquest (second right) chats with Ms. Florencia Raskovan, training facilitator, Department of Public Safety, Organisation of American States (OAS); Commodore Roderick Bowe, Commander Defence Force; and Prison Superintendent Dr. Elliston Rahming following a demonstration during the hand-over of the Firearm Marking Machine from officials of the OAS to the Government of The Bahamas. Mr. Turnquest took receipt of the machine on behalf of the Government and the Ministry of National Security. Pictured (from left) are Commodore Bowe, Superintendent Rahming, Minister Turnquest and Ms. Raskovan. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
The Bahamas – The Government of The Bahamas added another important
tool in its multi-faceted approach to combating the illegal firearms
trade Wednesday, July 6, after taking receipt of a Firearms Marking
Machine from the Organisation of American States (OAS).
took place at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre and followed months
of negotiations that resulted in a Joint Agreement signed with the OAS
under their “Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean”
Project in January, 2011.
was one of the first regional countries to sign onto the Joint Agreement,
joining Costa Rica, Paraguay and Uruguay. The pact follows the framework
of the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and
Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials
The Joint Agreement
also provides Bahamian law enforcement and national security officials
with access to training and equipment for tracking marked firearms.
Minister of National Security, the Hon. O.A. “Tommy” Turnquest took
receipt of the machine on behalf of the government.
of firearms will help us to identify the weapons that have been used
in criminal activity and therefore help to combat crime in our country
and in the region,” Mr. Turnquest said.
is very important for The Bahamas because we have become a transit point
for drugs and small arms. The marking of firearms helps to combat illicit
firearms trafficking as it allows authorities to identify the seized
weapons to determine their origin,” Mr. Turnquest added.
The Joint Agreement
called for the OAS to provide a Firearm Marking Machine and its accessories
to the Ministry of National Security for the execution of the project.
It also calls for the OAS to provide training on the use of the equipment.
Facilitator, Ms. Florencia Raskovan, was in attendance at Wednesday’s
hand-over. She will conduct training sessions for local law enforcement
and national security officials over the next two days.
Commodore Roderick Bowe, Commander, Defence Force (first right) and Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade discuss the technical aspects of the Firearm Marking Machine presented to the Government of The Bahamas by the Organisation of American States. The machine is expected to "beef up" the Government's arsenal in the war against illegal gun trafficking and use. Also pictured (from left) are: Ms. Florencia Raskovan, Training Facilitator, Department of Public Safety, OAS and Ms. Juliette Mallet-Phillip, Country Representative, Office of the General Secretariat (Organisation of American States). (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
The Bahamas is obligated to provide the OAS with information on the
country’s capacities and needs with respect to firearms marking, recording
and tracing. The country also agreed to cooperate with the OAS on “follow-up
missions” and to mark an average of 100 firearms per month over the
course of the next 12 months.
said the Joint Agreement with the OAS, and receipt of the machine, further
shows the Government’s commitment to getting rid of illegal guns which
statistics show have been responsible for 72 per cent of the murders
committed in The Bahamas as of July 5, 2011.
He said the
establishment of Magistrate’s Court No. 9 (also known as the Gun Court)
was another major aspect of that war on guns. The court, he said, has
paid immediate dividends.
and law enforcement officials say the illegal trafficking in firearms
is tied directly into other transnational criminal activities such as
drugs and human smuggling.
of The Bahamas is determined to maximise our resources in thwarting
all efforts to smuggle illegal firearms into our country,” Mr. Turnquest
effort in this regard has been the strategic approach to move all illegal
firearm cases to a single Magistrates' Court and we have been very impressed
with the results to date.
the trade in illegal weapons is a challenging undertaking, we are satisfied
that improved gun registries, and the marking and tracing of weapons,
along with improved interdiction of firearms at our ports, can help,”
Mr. Turnquest added.