Sep 02, 2015 News
— as one-month gun amnesty begins
By Jarryl Bryan
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, has said that all guns and ammunition handed over as part of the Gun Amnesty programme will be destroyed to ensure that they do not turn up in the wrong hands again.
This pronouncement was made during an interview at the launching of Amerindian Heritage Month yesterday and would have come as the Minister sought to emphasize the safeguards in place for the guns expected to be turned in.
“They will all be destroyed after the amnesty comes to an end. Whether we dig a deep hole and seal them off, they will be destroyed,” Ramjattan said.
Just an hour into the launch of the gun amnesty programme countrywide yesterday, the Alberttown Police station was gifted a bucket containing 1,191 rounds of 7.62×51 ammunition.
The rounds, which were SLR (single loading rounds), are of the type used in AK-47 assault rifles and were turned in at approximately 09:41hrs by a member of the public.
Minister Ramjattan said that considering it was the first day of the amnesty, this would have a positive effect on the number of illegal guns and ammunition on the streets.
“It is going to be a success, and even if it is not to the high expectation that lots of guns would have come in, it will still be a success. One thousand rounds of ammunition and two guns, even if that is what it is at this afternoon, is good enough being taken away from the hands of people that (had illegal possession of them),” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, at about 23:00hrs on Monday (the night before the commencement of the amnesty), police responded to a report of a firearm being discharged at Montrose, East Coast Demerara (ECD), and arrested a man in whose possession was found an unlicensed 9mm Glock pistol with three rounds. Four (4) spent shells were also found at the scene.
The man was subsequently identified as Vishnu Singh, son of one time General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jagnarine Singh. He is currently on remand.
The proliferation of guns and ammunition in the country has long been attributed to the borders, which are considered a transient shipment point.
Individuals have even been busted with their guns shipped in crates.
There was the infamous arms cache of high powered rifles, pistols and ammunitions unearthed at the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC) wharf in May. That crate was said to have come from Miami.
The gun amnesty has been met with much criticism from the opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) with Clement Rohee, himself a former Home Affairs Minister, declaring that the programme would fail.
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