Caribbean community holds workshop on chemical weapons prohibition

A workshop originated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons held in collaboration with the Caribbean Community and Common Market Secretariat and Government of the Bahamas was held in Nassau this week.

The workshop attracted participants from 14 CARICOM member states, including Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Saint Lucia, Monserrat, Jamaic, Guyana, Grenada, Belize, Barbados, the Bahamas and Antigua. It was designed to build on the ongoing efforts to effectively implement the Chemical Weapons Convention in the region.

The workshop covered the import and export provisions of the CWC and highlighted the importance of border and port controls, with particular emphasis on the role of customs authorities.

In an opening address, Hon. T. Brent Symonette, the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs for the Bahamas, said that it is imperative for CARICOM member states to close security gaps and ensure that responsible and effective monitoring systems are imposed.

“One of the most significant obligations we have as nation states is the enactment of legislation, inter alia, to criminalize the use of chemical agents as weapons of mass destruction and to expedite prosecution relating thereto,” Symonette said. “For our part, the Bahamas is firmly committed to disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery, which constitute threats to peace and security nationally, regionally and globally.”