US Congressman to Deal with Illegal Guns

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

UNITED States Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is promising to deal with the challenge of the trafficking of US guns into Trinidad and Tobago in a decisive manner in the best interest of both countries.

Jeffries, the US Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives and a US delegation are in Trinidad and Tobago for the 50th anniversary of CARICOM, along with other global leaders.

He said at a press conference on Thursday, “The guns that being easily trafficked into Trinidad and Tobago that are being used in violent acts are guns that aren’t manufactured here in Trinidad and Tobago, they are guns that in almost every instance is manufactured and initially purchased in the United States of America.

“It is a challenge that we will confront and we will confront decisively in the best interest of country.”

The press conference was hosted by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s.

Jeffries said along with climate change, those were the main issues in discussions with Trinidad and Tobago noting that other CARICOM countries were also facing similar issues.

Mentioning the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act gun safety bill, the first to be passed in the US in 30 years by President Joe Biden Administration, he said that bill should aid in the prevention of trafficking of guns.

Jeffries said, “We want to be good neighbours. The last thing we want to do is export our gun violence problem to Trinidad and Tobago and we take the challenge that you now face seriously and intend to work with the administration back in the United States of America to encourage them to use all available resources in terms of enforcement to look at what comes in but also what is going out.”

Other members of the delegation expressed similar thoughts adding that much more in terms of container screening.

Conflict between democracy and autocracy  

When asked about relationships with Venezuela and Cuba, Jeffries said while he was not exactly familiar with the statements made by CARICOM leaders, there was a conflict between democracy and autocracy.

“I will just say generally, if you look at the global stage that we are locked in increasingly a global conflict between democracy and autocracy between freedom and tyranny, between truth and propaganda and we are seeing it in sharp focus now with the war in Ukraine,” Jeffries said.

He said autocracy has been on the rise across the world and remains an authentic legitimate concern of the US for the free world.

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Jeffries said along with Trinidad and Tobago, there was a shared value of democracy but there were many who do not share those values.

“I do think it is important for everyone to understand that this delegation, President Biden, the country, the Congress takes seriously the conflict that we are locked into right now in this world between a free system of governance and an autocratic one.”

At the beginning of the press conference he said, “We came to Trinidad and Tobago to listen, to find a common path forward, and then to go back to Washington DC to act. To act in the best interest, the relationship between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago. To act in the best relationship of America and CARICOM.”


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