The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) is objecting to the move by Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, to usurp the authority to grant or refuse firearms license to applicants without the consultation of the Divisional Commanders of the Guyana Police Force.
This issue was raised during a press briefing yesterday at the PNCR headquarters, Congress Place, Sophia, by Member of Parliament Basil Williams.
This issue of granting firearms license is currently before the Select Committee of the National Assembly.
According to Williams, the Minister of Home Affairs is a member of the Select Committee and is “fully cognizant of the status of the work of the Committee.”
He said that his party is of the opinion that Rohee is superseding his function as Minister and making null and void the recommendations of the Special Select Committee.
Williams stated that the Firearm License Act states that the Minister does not have the authority to grant or refuse Firearm Licence, but should appoint “a fit and proper person to do so” and that he (Minister Rohee) is “aware” of the “recommendations…of the Disciplined Services Commission (DSC) under the Firearm Act.”
It was also pointed out that the Minister and/or the Commissioner of Police can only approve or refuse the approval of the granting of a firearm licence.
The PNCR is of the view that there has been a wrongful application “of Section 7 (1) of the Police Act” which stipulates that the Police Commissioner and the Guyana Police Force (GFP) are “subject to the general orders and directions of the Minister.”
Williams stated that the Minister of Home Affairs does not have the constitutional right to carry out any of the duties of the Police Force.
The application for a Firearm Licence should be set by a “Prescribed Officer” with a “prescribed form” for a stipulated area in which the applicant resides.
The Prescribed Officer is to grant the License to the applicant only if the individual meets the requirements of the Licence Act and that the Prescribed Officer is of the opinion that the applicant has met all requirements to be in possession of their firearm, according to Williams who added, “The Prescribed Officer would be the Divisional Commander of the Guyana Police Force.”
The Commission, Williams said, is of the opinion that the Firearms Act should have “Regulatory Amendments” and that the Commissioner of Police should have administrative control over the Divisional Commander in reference to their granting of Firearm Licences.
He expressed displeasure at the move by the Minister who Gazetted regulation on April 10, last, which allows him to overrule any recommendations of the Firearms Licencing Approval Board” and based upon his verdict, he can “grant or refuse the certificate of registration in accordance with his own deliberate judgement.”
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