By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee says that the gun amnesty programme by Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan is “bound to fail,” citing reports by law enforcement agencies during his tenure.
Rohee, who is also the General Secretary of the Opposition PPP, told a news conference at Freedom House on Monday, August 31 that reports submitted by law enforcement agencies during the PPP’ time in office, indicate that the programme did not prove to be a success in other countries.
He explained that this is one of the reasons why he never introduced gun amnesty while Home Affairs Minister, since he did not receive the necessary support.
“The gun amnesty touted by Ramjattan is bound to fail. In most cases the programme did not reach its anticipated success. This was the case in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and nine States in the United States of America,” Rohee told reporters.
He also alluded to statements made by President David Granger, whom he said did not support such a programme while he was Leader of the Opposition.
“Granger himself had said that a gun amnesty programme will not succeed in Guyana. He had stated publicly that he is not in favour of gun amnesty; he had said it would not work…Now under pressure, Granger has somersaulted and has come out in support of the gun amnesty process.”
Rohee explained that during his tenure as Home Affairs Minister, a task force on narcotics and illegal firearms was established and they had lengthy discussions on the issue
“They were of the view that it will not work in Guyana and it will fail. That is precisely why the Ministry never pushed it forward. Since all the Law Enforcement Agencies were not supportive, the then Minister guided by this mere consensus as well as by international experience, decided not to pursue this matter.”
Rohee expressed his surprised that the programme is now underway.
“The same people who advised Ramjattan, are the same people who advised me. So I was rather surprised when I read that the Ministry was pursuing that action,” the Former Home Affairs Minister said.
The Ministry of Public Security announced that from September 01, at 9 am it will begin receiving illicit firearms with no questions asked and persons submitting will not be prosecuted, as part of the gun amnesty period.
An advertisement in the local newspaper warned that when the one-month amnesty is up, persons found in possession of illegal weapons and ammunition will be prosecuted in accordance with the laws.
According to the advisory, “all transactions in this amnesty period will be treated with strict confidentiality,” and listed police stations throughout the country where firearms, ammunition or explosives could be handed in between 9 am and 4 pm.
The stations in ‘A’ Division are the Timehri, Ruimveldt, East La Penitence, Brickdam and Alberttown police stations. In ‘B’ Division guns can be turned in at the Fort Wellington, Blairmont, Central, Albion, Whim, No.51, Springlands and Mibicuri police stations. In ‘C’ division, the police stations are: Sparendaam, Beterverwagting, Vigilance, Cove and John, Mahaica and Mahaicony.