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Coastguard faces challenges of patrolling border, says ACP Joseph

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The St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Coastguard is ill-equipped to patrol the borders of SVG and as a result, illegal firearms are entering the country.

The weapons are said to be entering because of the drug trade, where persons barter marijuana for illegal firearms.

Speaking on the issue, Frankie Joseph, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of crime, said that in SVG, the police are challenged in restricting the entry of firearms, because of porous borders.

“We can say that the whole of SVG could be used as a port of entry for speedboats. The coastguard has to man the whole of SVG and when we look at the kind of waters they have to patrol, you can see the challenges we have in preventing the influx of firearms,” said the ACP, noting that the entire island may be used as a port of entry.

“The coastguard can do so much because they cannot patrol the waters of the entire [country],” stressed the ACP.

Last week, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that the ease with which people are able to get guns is at the heart of the killings here.

According to Gonsalves, the guns originate in the United States, pass through “our dangerous neighbourhood” and slip into the country through various ports of entry and other places where there are no ports of entry.

So far in 2017, 32 persons have died violently.(LC)

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