Minister of Indigenous People’s Affairs Sydney Allicock has assured residents of Chinoweng and Wax Creek that they can look forward to having their firearm licences by at least the first quarter of 2018 a release from the Department of Public Information (DPI) has said.
During a visit to Chinoweng village in Upper Mazaruni over the weekend, where he also met with the residents of Wax Creek, Minister Allicock sought to appease the villagers who again raised the issue with him.
During the Ministry of Public Security’s (MPS) firearm amnesty programme back in 2015, residents from several indigenous villages had handed over their unlicenced firearms with the hope that they would be considered for licences.
But according to Minister Allicock, “things have not worked the way we thought they would have.” He explained that the Community Development Officers (CDO) were required to take the list of all persons who had returned their firearms. He said that plan was considered workable since, according to him, it would have been easier to identify “which firearm belonged to whom.” However, he said that plan fell through.
“We later found out that some of these applications were at Imbaimadi and some were at Kamarang and there was confusion. It was only recently that we found them, there was some mix-up. We took steps and even had discussions with the President who thought everything was put in place,” he explained to the residents.
Minister Allicock said the process is still ongoing and promised that residents can begin to see changes by early next year.
“We are working towards giving you the license, give us three months, the first quarter in next year because it are a lot of applications. We are treating this as special. Give us the first quarter of next year… We were looking at those who handed in their firearms, and we know that firearms are not serviceable. Those will not be given back, you will have to get new ones,” he told the residents.
He also encouraged residents to have their monies ready to purchase their firearms as soon as they are granted their licences.
“You must have the money ready to purchase. You need to start getting your money, those who gave theirs,” he said.