Epimenedes | 13.10.2004 13:40
reposted from the BARBADOS NATION Sunday 10, October-2004
Gun catch - Sunday 10, October-2004
by Roxanne Gibbs Executive Editor
FOR the second time in a year a shipment of guns in a container assigned to the United States Embassy, Bridgetown, has been held by Barbados Customs.
The guns allegedly include M16s and other high-powered weapons.
According to sources, on the first occasion, when questioned, embassy officials said the guns were brought in for the Regional Security System.
When the second shipment was discovered about two weeks ago however, this raised eyebrows in Government.
According to sources, senior officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought an explanation from United States Ambassador Mary Kramer who apologised for the absence of proper documentation.
It is undertood that the shipment was not for Barbados, but actually headed for St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
The ambassador was apparently told in no uncertain terms that the Government of Barbados “does not take such matters lightly”.
“Government would have done its duty by calling them in,” said a senior official who confirmed the incident yesterday.
Up to last week the shipment of guns was still with Customs.
A source from Customs said last night that the department would not release them until the proper documentation had been produced.
This development is being seen as an interesting twist, coming several months after Jamaican authorities seized a quantity of weapons earmarked for Haiti. Those weapons had originated from South Africa.
That incident caused some diplomatic flack since senior Bush officials complained vigorously to the P.J. Patterson administration.
US officials reportedly warned Patterson that his country would be held responsible for any injury or death of any Americans in Haiti.
While the ambassador could not be reached for comment, an embassy official said the shipment was part of America’s “usual assistance given to Eastern Caribbean enforcement entities”.