by Akash Samaroo (Trinidad Guardian) Data and analytics experts are warning that Trinidad and Tobago should be wary of conversion devices that are being used by criminals to turn simple pistols and handguns into assault weapons.
This is one of the findings in the Caribbean Firearms Study, which is being hailed as the first comprehensive, evidence-based study on illicit firearms in the Caribbean region. It found that the rate of lethal violence in the Caribbean for 2020 was almost three times the global rate, with firearms used in more than half of the Caribbean’s homicides.
The report, which will be released this morning, was done over two years by Caricom IMPACS and the Small Arms Survey (SAS).
Speaking exclusively with Guardian Media yesterday before the embargo on the report was lifted, SAS’ head of Data and Analytics, Nicolas Florquin, revealed a developing concern in T&T.
“We are seeing a range of new types of firearms making it into the illicit market, especially so-called ghost guns that are basically unfinished parts of guns which can then be used to produce a real gun but those are harder to detect and can be smuggled in parts and components,” Florquin explained.
Florquin added that a conversion device is one of the more popular parts.
“Those are little devices that are put into a semi-automatic rifle and pistol and turn them into fully automatic weapons and Trinidad and Tobago has seized quite a few of them over the past two to three years,” he said.