Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on CARICOM leaders to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and support Trinidad and Tobago’s bid to host the Secretariat in Port of Spain.
Persad-Bissessar made the call during the recent 25th Inter-Sessional meeting of the conference of Heads of CARICOM governments recently in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Last month, Trinidad and Tobago made a formal bid to host the Secretariat for the Arms Trade Treaty, given its geographic location, which has made the country vulnerable to the trafficking of arms and ammunition.
She said while Trinidad & Tobago may not be a manufacturer of guns and cocaine, it had become a trans-shipment for the illegal trade.
“The Arms Trade Treaty provides us with a significant component in the global fight against the trade in conventional arms in illicit markets,” she said during her plea to regional leaders.
Persad-Bissessar said to date, 116 states have signed the ATT, including all CARICOM members, except Haiti.
Eleven states have ratified the Treaty, thereby expressing their consent to be legally bound by its provisions. They are Iceland, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Nigeria, Coast Rica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Panama and Norway.
“For the ATT to come into force, Article 22 requires the signatures and early ratification by 50 states so that the treaty can come into force with the minimum of delay,” Persad-Bissessar said.
Mexico and Chile have already formally pledged support for Trinidad and Tobago’s CARICOM-endorsed bid to host the ATT Secretariat.