As government moves to substantially increase the annual fees for firearm licences as one method of boosting revenues in the country, the Opposition is of the view that certain categories of persons should be excluded from paying these increases.
Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo is calling on the APNU+AFC administration to exempt both Amerindians and farmers from this since these people stand to lose more by being forced to pay large sums of monies for their licences when they rely on their weapons to secure and maintain their livelihoods.
“If Amerindians have a shotgun in the interior they use this not for pleasure; many times it is a tool to live…so this will create significant hardships, additional burdens on these two groups of people. I also want to urge the government to cut the over 130 licences that are being increased and fees, taxes, etc, cut them by 50 per cent,” Dr Jagdeo stated.
The Government proposed to increase gun licence fees as follows:
- Shotgun licence will increase from $2,000 to $5,000
- Handgun licence will increase from $5,000 to $25,000
- Rifles from $5,000 to $40,000
- Dealers from $7,500 to $150,000
The Opposition Leader explained that some of the proposed increases which have been announced by the government range from 50 percent to 700 per cent with most of the increases noted at over 100 per cent.
With this in mind, Dr Jagdeo is imploring that the government cut the proposed increases by half of what it announced will be implemented soon.
“It is, in the entire history of my familiarity with budgets, in terms of licences and fees increased, probably the largest ever not just in number but in percentage terms,” declared Jagdeo, a Moscow-trained Economist, former Finance Minister and two-term President of Guyana.
The move for the hike in firearm licences and dealerships was announced by Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Friday last during his 2016 Budget presentation.
He told the National Assembly that Section 19 of the Firearms Act will also be amended to increase the annual fee for firearm licences.
In addition to this, a “raft of legislation would be amended” to increase the fees paid to obtain various other licences, which include regulations under the Auctioneer Act; the Hucksters Licencing and Control Act; the Miscellaneous Licences Act; the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act; the Rice Factories Act; and regulations made under the Tax Act, Jordan had said.