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Training course on investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses related to firearms in Jamaica

Kingston, 7 July 2022. Caribbean States, including Jamaica, have visibly expressed their determination and interest to combat the exponential rise in the prevalence of firearms across the region.
In 2020, sixteen Caribbean States adopted a Roadmap to counter illicit firearms trafficking and misuse across the Caribbean in a sustainable manner by 2030 (Caribbean Firearms Roadmap), which builds on regional aspirations to combat illicit trafficking in firearms and enhance resilience in this regard.
In order to support Jamaica in the effective implementation of the criminal justice component of this Roadmap, UNODC Firearms Trafficking Section delivered a training course on investigation and prosecution of firearms-related offences, addressed to 19 criminal justice practitioners, from 4 to 7 July 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. More specifically, the following institutions were trained during this activity: Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Justice, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, Financial Investigation Division, Firearm Licensing Authority, Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine, Jamaica Customs Agency, Jamaica Defence Force, and Interpol

Mr Garry Conille, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Jamaica, stated that this training is part of the SALIENT (Saving Lives Entity) Programme in Jamaica, a larger joint initiative between the Government of Jamaica and the United Nations that seeks to reduce illicit firearms in Jamaica with the aim to reduce violence and contribute to building resilience and security in the country.
“By strengthening the efforts to reduce illicit firearms, we are contributing to reduce sources of illicit financing and power of organised criminal gangs, and hence saving hundreds of lives now and in the future and building a safer context for the new generations to develop themselves away from armed violence”, highlighted Mr Conille.

“The Government of Jamaica has demonstrated a solid commitment to fight against illicit firearms and related criminality. As part of its efforts, it has adopted the Caribbean Firearms Roadmap, and partnered with the United Nations in the framework of the Saving Lives Entity Fund (SALIENT)”, stressed Mr Roberto Rodriguez Codesal, who addressed the participants on behalf of Ms Simonetta Grassi, Chief of UNODC Firearms Trafficking Section.

He also added that “the investigation and the prosecution of firearms trafficking are essential elements to disrupt the illicit flows and bring trafficking networks in front of justice. This is why we are here in this week’s training aimed at uplifting your capacities throughout the criminal justice chain”.

Some of the goals achieved with this course were:

  • Strengthened investigative and analytical techniques and skills necessary for the investigation and prosecution of firearms-related crimes.
  • Reinforced knowledge about the international and domestic legal framework related to firearms
  • Enhanced channels of cooperation and communication between relevant national institutions of the criminal justice system for better exchange of firearms-related information, leading to successful investigation, prosecution and resolution of cases.

Armed violence in the Caribbean surpasses other regions. In particular, in Jamaica, drug trafficking and gang-related activities continue to fuel the demand for illegal firearms and ammunition, aggravating the impact of violent crimes such as murders, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and sexual assault. Despite continued seizures of firearms, most murders continue to involve firearms in the country, highlighting the problem of illicit trafficking and related offences.

In order to effectively address this phenomenon, it is essential to pursue adequate investigations around the seized firearms, exchange information, trace seized firearms to their illicit origin, and prosecute responsible individuals, with the aim to effectively disrupt illicit trafficking flows and reduce the gun power and financial flows that fuel and empower criminal groups.

This activity was also part of the SALIENT programme in Jamaica, which is being jointly implemented by UNODC together with UNDP, UNLIREC and UNESCO, and in close cooperation with the Government of Jamaica.