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Trinidad and Tobago has experienced ongoing crime and violence for decades. From 2000 to 2012, the number of violent crime incidents increased dramatically, and the country struggled to control this situation. In 2011, the government put in place a state of emergency to combat gang-related crime. The country is significantly affected by arms and drugs trafficking, as well as the active presence of organised criminal groups. The proliferation of illicit firearms is one of the main sources of the country’s instability. The majority of guns circulating in Trinidad and Tobago are obtained illegally.1

The country’s guiding gun control legislation includes the Firearms Act. The country has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty.2 The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has provided assistance aimed at improving security.3 The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) collaborate with Trinidad and Tobago on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and ammunition – and particularly on weapons and ammunition destruction.4


1 “Trinidad and Tobago,” DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, February 12, 2015,

2 Philip Alpers, Amélie Rossetti and Leonardo Goi, Trinidad and Tobago – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022),

3 “Trinidad and Tobago,” DCAF.

4 “Trinidad and Tobago: 7,000 Illegal Guns Destroyed,” The Guardian, September 26, 2022,; “UNLIREC Destroys Firearms and Small Arms and Light Weapons Ammunition in Trinidad and Tobago,” Mapping ATT-Relevant Cooperation and Assistance Activities Database, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2016,

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Map of Trinidad and Tobago

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, one accidental explosion has been reported in Trinidad and Tobago.

Table 1. Accidental explosions in Trinidad and Tobago (1979–2021)








State (military)



Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Trinidad and Tobago.


To decrease the above-mentioned risks of accidental explosions and diversion, Trinidad and Tobago regularly disposes of its ammunition.

Table 2. Number of tonnes of ammunition disposed of in Trinidad and Tobago


Tonnes of ammunition





Sources: “UNLIREC Destroys Firearms,” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; “19,188 Firearms, 37,763 Tonnes of Ammo Destroyed,” Daily Express News, May 3, 2013,


To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following need has been identified for Trinidad and Tobago:

  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles, particularly technological assistance and machinery aimed at facilitating the proper destruction of surplus, obsolete small arms and light weapons.


Source: Trinidad and Tobago, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN, 2016),

Published Date: Monday 21 of August 2023