U.S.-CARICOM Initiative to Combat Illicit Trafficking in Arms

March 22, 2006

The United States and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states today express their concern over the thriving gray and black arms market in Latin America and the Caribbean, which provides weapons to terrorist groups, drug traffickers, gangs, and other criminal organizations. As nations committed to the values of human freedom, democracy, and peace, they are concerned about illicit arms trafficking exacerbated by the steady influx of new arms into the region from unwarranted arms acquisitions.

In light of their common values and interests, the U.S. and CARICOM declare their resolve to prevent, combat, and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in the region, in particular to the states of the Caribbean basin. Building on their shared desire to protect their citizens and improve their ability to enjoy the benefits of democracy, the U.S. and CARICOM states resolve:

-- To combat illicit arms trafficking relentlessly. They applaud the active and vigorous cooperation between their nations to eradicate this problem and support enhanced efforts in this area.
-- To support each other's efforts as well as those of other nations to combat this threat and to provide technical and other assistance to this end. They also pledge to exchange information and experiences so that they can benefit from each other's expertise in addressing this pressing security challenge. The U.S. and CARICOM states recognize that enhanced multilateral cooperation is essential because the arms trafficking threat transcends borders and affects all nations.

Drawing on their mutual vision of inter-American security, and their joint objectives as democracies, the U.S. and CARICOM states agree to:

-- Enhance import and export controls consistent with international practices and standards;
-- Improve information sharing on entities and individuals involved in illicit trafficking and the routes they use to traffic arms;
-- Promote the tracing of firearms recovered in connection with illicit activities in order to provide investigative leads;
-- Deepen law enforcement and customs cooperation;
-- Enhance national stockpile control, management, and security practices;
-- Encourage destruction of at risk, obsolete, or excess Stockpiles;
-- Promote implementation of the OAS Guidelines on the control and security of MANPADS; and
-- Provide technical and other assistance, as appropriate, to affected nations to support their efforts to combat this threat.

The U.S. and CARICOM states encourage other states in the hemisphere to join in this effort in the near future.