Churches agency helps track weapons in Caribbean


TORONTO -- Gun violence in Jamaica kills more people than some formally declared wars, said the director of an ecumenical program tapped by the Canadian government to help the Caribbean basin nations track the flow of weapons and ammunition.

Sixty of every 100,000 Jamaicans are murdered, with most of the deaths caused by someone with a gun, said John Siebert, executive director of Project Ploughshares, an agency of the Canadian Council of Churches that has monitored the arms trade, defense policy and wars around the world since 1976.

A three-year, $2.4 million project under Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will allow Project Ploughshares to help CARICOM, the Caribbean regional grouping of nations, tackle the problem of gun violence.

The murder rate in the small island nation is almost nine times that of Canada's, reported The Catholic Register.

Siebert's organization will assist CARICOM's coordinating body for police forces to develop a computerized database to track guns and ammunition.

Christmas-NCR-gifts-half_0.jpgGive a subscription to our award-winning newspaper and save $10.

Ploughshares also will work with University of the West Indies professors studying the private security industry that protects almost every business in the region.

"In a lot of the larger states, you have more private security guards and officers than you have police," Siebert said.

"Demographics are part of this. It's almost a universal observation that the primary perpetrators and victims of gun violence are young men, 15-30," he explained. "But there is also something happening with the flow of guns and the Caribbean as a transit point for drugs and as a reception point for guns."

The organization played a key role in developing the Nairobi Protocol, a 2004 agreement among 12 East African nations to control the flow of small arms. That experience was a consideration in the agency winning the contract for the work in the Caribbean, it said.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017