A gun in the hands of an untrained person is like a weapon of mass destruction, Commissioner of Police Michael Charles said last week, adding that the completion of the Coastguard base in Canouan can help to stem the flow of illegal guns into this country.
Guns were used in eight of the nine murders recorded here this year, and police have also taken 15 illegal guns off the street.
One was handed in to the police and the others were seized during stop and searches and execution of search warrants, Charles said in a radio interview.
“We don’t manufacture guns in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, like we don’t manufacture cocaine. But the evidence shows that there is a lot of cocaine in St. Vincent and there are a lot of guns in St. Vincent.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines, sad to say, produces marijuana, and, from our evidence, there is a lot of exchange — guns for marijuana,” said the police chief, a former head of the Narcotics Unit.
The Grenadines is a major crime fighting challenges, Charles said, explaining that the chain of islands is a haven for criminals from South America, Trinidad, Grenada.
“With our limited resources, it is difficult for us to police the whole of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at one time. While we may be in one place, something is happening at another. And that is why I am so happy that we have already completed the Coastguard base in Canouan. This will be such a great asset to us here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Charles said.
The US$2 million Coastguard base project is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Building Partner Capacity Program and was scheduled to be completed in August 2013.
“There are so many beaches, bays and cays that we have in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and it is a haven for people who have bad intentions to come and bring their wares to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Charles said that a gun has one purpose, “and that is to kill”.
He said that when a person applies for a licence to keep a firearm, they go a process including training that teaches them the danger or a firearm and when to use it.
“The gun in the hand of an untrained persons is like a weapon of mass destruction. That’s exactly what it is.
“We have a lot of work to do and we can’t do it along. We need the support of every citizen, every persons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to make our country the Gem of the Antilles that it is,” Charles said.