Whether the putative Town Clerk’s bodyguard was granted a firearm licence before or during the current Minister of Home Affairs’ tenure is really immaterial. What citizens who digest a daily dose of crime and criminality, and constantly live in the shadow of the fear of crime must be told is whether the character at the centre of attention is in possession of a licenced firearm.
Was a firearm licence ever approved for Mr. Sean Hinds (on what grounds); and if so was the said licence ever considered for revocation in light of the issues he has had with the law? It is bordering on the ridiculous for the Ministry of Home Affairs to introduce into an important public safety issue the question of timing of when someone with a seeming propensity for alleged involvement in criminal escapades would have been granted a licence to have a firearm in his possession.
Let us examine the firearm licencing procedure to arrive at a clear understanding of the factors involved. John Harry goes online and completes an application form to be a licenced holder of a firearm. The application is sent to the commander of the relevant police division accompanied by documentation including national identification, and tax identification numbers.
The applicant would have responded to questions aimed at determining her/his antecedents, and would have been the subject of a background investigation by the police in the station district. The completed file would be reviewed by the Divisional Commander and forwarded with her/his recommendation(s) and comments to the Commissioner of Police for review and the necessary approval/disapproval.
What all of the foregoing is intended to do is provide the final police destination with the appropriate level of comfort that an application can be justifiably approved or rejected; so back to Mr. Sean Hinds. Does he possess a licence to carry a firearm?
The remarks attributed to the Minister to the effect that the Town Clerk is free to ensure her personal safety in the event that she has no confidence in the City Constabulary (CC) is a point that is not so well taken. If the Town Clerk lacks confidence in the City Council’s ability to protect her, then this brings into question the twin issues of professionalism and leadership of the enforcement arm of the Mayor and City Councilors of Georgetown.
Will the current configuration of the City Council be affected at the end of the litigation in which the Town Council is embroiled? We just will have to wait and see because there is no way that one cannot attempt a makeover of a dysfunctional system inherent in a vote of no-confidence. However, what does all of the foregoing say of the judgment of the principal actors in what is clearly a comedic farce?
Moving on! If it is discovered that Mr. Hinds after all the allegations of criminal conduct is licenced to carry a firearm, and in the face of public concern, what are the next steps? It is reasonable to accept that there is only one course of action open to the Commissioner of Police (ag.) and that is to immediately revoke such licence and cause the weapon to be lodged with the police. To do any less would be a travesty in light of the possibility that many less colourful characters with just claims have been denied the opportunity of protecting their life and property by those means.
It might be recalled that many years ago the firearm licence of an alleged human smuggler was revoked by the Commissioner of Police although the individual was his good friend. The general view was that the obvious preemptive strike was intended to avoid inconvenient questions from an influential sector.
It is debatable that any person who is habitually on the wrong side of the law (and this is no reflection on Mr. Hinds) can be permitted to be a licenced firearm holder. Just cause must be shown, and if the police administration genuinely wants to send the right message to the populace then it needs to stop hiding behind the minister and come clean with definitive statements to assuage public concerns.
Law abiding persons need to be reassured that the system is working for all.
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