GUN BRIBE

>> FLA PROBES MIDDLEMAN IN WEAPONS PERMIT RACKET

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Syranno.baines@glean­erjm.com

THE FIREARM Li­cens­ing Author­ity (FLA) has re­vealed that a Manch­ester res­i­dent, who was ex­tra­dited and con­victed in the United States on drug-re­lated charges, is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for aid­ing and abet­ting the ac­qui­si­tion of hun­dreds of firearm li­censes by col­lect­ing bribes from per­sons of ques­tion­able char­ac­ter.

Speak­ing at a press brief­ing yes­ter­day, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the FLA Shane Dalling dis­closed that the male who was de­ported in 2012 af­ter serv­ing time, was him­self is­sued four firearm li­censes, hav­ing been de­nied by a pre­vi­ous board that found him not fit and proper to hold a firearm af­ter back­ground checks.

Dalling ar­gued that the Manch­ester male acted as a mid­dle man and was con­nected to a former board mem­ber of the FLA to fa­cil­i­tate the is­suance of the li­censes.

“We have re­ceived state­ments from li­censed firearm hold­ers who have paid thou­sands of dol­lars to se­cure firearm li­censes, and the state­ments iden­ti­fied this in­di­vid­ual from Manch­ester. We have pulled over 400 files, which ei­ther show ad­verse traces or per­sons with con­vic­tions, and

we have taken state­ments from sev­eral of the hold­ers as to what tran­spired,” Dalling re­ported.

“We have con­fis­cated his four guns and he has given state­ments. We’re in touch with MOCA (Ma­jor Or­gan­ised Crime and An­ti­cor­rup­tion) agency, and the po­lice is car­ry­ing out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The Min­istry of Na­tional Se­cu­rity has been briefed on the mat­ter and no stone will be left un­turned in our probe as var­i­ous con­victed crim­i­nals, even those con­victed for il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of firearm and am­mu­ni­tion, mostly from Manch­ester, were given li­cense firearms,” he de­clared.

Ear­lier, Dalling said that the author­ity took a de­ci­sion this week to re­voke the firearm li­censes of seven in­di­vid­u­als in Manch­ester.

The in­di­vid­u­als in ques­tion were at the cen­tre of an i nves­ti­ga­tion by the FLA fol­low­ing re­quests from a to­tal of nine per­sons in the parish want­ing to pur­chase more than 108,000 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion. He ar­gued that the re­quest was un­prece­dented as the vol­ume of am­mu­ni­tion would cost more than $12 mil­lion.

“The in­di­vid­u­als each re­quested 12,000 [rounds] to be used within the space of a month. It is un­prece­dented be­cause we are not used to see­ing that sort of re­quest by in­di­vid­u­als to use am­mu­ni­tion. We have deal­er­ships who can­not af­ford to buy 12,000 rounds for the pur­pose of sell­ing, and we found it sus­pi­cious that in­di­vid­u­als could af­ford [to do so],” said Dalling.

He fur­ther dis­closed that the author­ity also re­voked the li­censes of a firearm deal­er­ship, an am­mu­ni­tion deal­er­ship, and the range which operates in the parish.

“We take the is­sue of firearm li­cens­ing very se­ri­ously and the ac­count­abil­ity mea­sures that have been put in place have made a lot of per­sons un­com­fort­able. But we will not re­sile from do­ing what we need to do and will con­tinue to up­date the pub­lic by pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion,” Dalling ar­gued.

The FLA head also stated that the author­ity had re­voked al­most 100 gun li­cences since the start of this year with hun­dreds more up for re­vo­ca­tion.

Dalling fur­ther de­clared that all per­sons who had li­censes were be­ing reeval­u­ated to en­sure that they were still fit and proper to hold firearms.

RUDOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Syranno Baines/Gleaner Writer Shane Dalling, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Firearm Li­cens­ing Author­ity (FLA), dis­plays a map of Ja­maica show­ing the de­mand for am­mu­ni­tion among Ja­maican firearm and am­mu­ni­tion deal­ers to mem­bers of the me­dia at a press brief­ing to dis­cuss ac­count­abil­ity mea­sures im­ple­mented by the FLA. The brief­ing was held at the Terra Nova Al­lSuite Ho­tel in St An­drew yes­ter­day.

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