Tue | May 26, 2020

Devon Dick | Montague and gun licence: the plot thickens

Published:Tuesday | November 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Last month, Diane McIntosh, permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, said that administrative support was provided to Robert Montague, then minister of national security. This apparently helped Montague to arrive at a decision to grant a gun licence to Person A.

Person A, according to Jamaica Constabulary Force intelligence, was a member of a notorious gang, engaged in lottery scamming and possibly was in possession of an illegal gun. This was revealed by a TVJ reporter who Montague lambasted and then defended the granting of a gun licence to Person A, claiming that it was as a result of a unanimous decision made by a council of six persons that he had established; and not by him.

McIntosh's revelation in Parliament raises doubts about the existence of a council of six. On August 16, I asked for the chairman of that committee to come forward and validate Montague's statement; the names of the six members; the terms of reference; the duration of the appointment, the honorarium paid; the skill set and rationale for the decisions to usurp the considered recommendation of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA). These legitimate questions were never answered. Is the government serious about crime-fighting and desirous of the support of the public when it will not answer reasonable, urgent and important questions?

Even after McIntosh's far-reaching disclosure, there is no challenge to the veracity of her comment. If McIntosh were not speaking the truth, she would be sent to never-never land again.

Therefore, if there were no panel of six then Montague would have misled the country. Remember, Bill Clinton, former USA president, was not impeached because he had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, but because he lied about the sexual encounter.




Similarly, if the council of six was a figment of a fertile mind, it would be an impeachable offence. Any deliberate and intentional act to deceive in the issuance of a gun licence to someone of questionable character has grave consequences. Furthermore, the other 29 cases of overturning the considered decision of the FLA structure would be indicative that we have a 'situation'. Gun killings are causing mayhem and fear. Therefore, in the issuing of a gun licence the very appearance of evil should be shunned. Integrity is vital in governance.

It appears that credibility of politicians is not perceived as essential and the lack thereof as disqualifying one from a Cabinet seat and even Parliament. Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance, claimed that the last special tax on gasolene was not for the hedge fund only, as many were led to believe. However, the former minister of energy, Phillip Paulwell, made a call in Parliament for the roll back of the tax since there was no hedge fund, giving the impression that the whole of the tax was for the hedge fund. If Paulwell knew that his statement in the Parliament was not true then he would have misled the Parliament. Therefore, why has he not been censured? Furthermore, the minister of finance should not be using the designated part of the special tax for the hedge fund in general taxation. To do that smacks of illegality and definitely immorality. The hedge fund portion of that tax should be rolled back and the motorists be refunded what was rightly their money.

If Montague is not made to answer to this messy gun licence issue then other politicians will act with impunity towards the citizens.

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