Clayton: Anderson an inspired choice for FLA chairmanship
News that former head of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Major General Antony Anderson, is tapped to take over the chairmanship of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), has received a thumbs up from at least one professor at the University of the West Indies.
Sustainable Development Professor Anthony Clayton told The Gleaner recently that the former army man and now head of the National Security Council was a suitable candidate.
"I understand that Antony Anderson has been asked to take over. That is an inspired choice because that is a man of absolutely, undoubted integrity. I am hopeful that the rest of the board will be of equal calibre," he said.
Clayton raised questions about the whereabouts of the members of the previous board during the periods of hanky-panky at the authority.
"This looks like corruption, or politics, or both. It sounds like they were told to resign. I think that that was the only thing the Government could do, because if you have a situation that is as bad as the FLA appears to have been, then you can't really compromise. If you were on the board, you were either involved or you should have known about this, because otherwise, what are you on the board for?" said Clayton.
"Let's say you are on the board, but you yourself are not corrupt and you are not involved in this, what were you doing then? Weren't you reading the reports? Weren't you talking to members of staff? Weren't you listening to concerns? You are not on a board to keep a seat warm now, are you? If you are on the board, you are actually supposed to have oversight responsibilities and you have to take this serious. It probably was just one or two problematic members, but then it does call into doubt the judgement or the diligence of the other members of the board."
FLA Reform Agenda
The Reform Agenda of the former Dennis Wright-led board will be continued to be implemented with vigour. Some of the initiatives that they will continue are:
1. The reorganisation of the authority will be done with respect for all. The reclassification, training and re-engineering of processes will be fast-tracked.
2. The reintroduction of Gun Licence Examination. This will commence in September.
3. The review of all files to clear the system of permits that should not be issued.
4. Introducing the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA) into the vetting process.
5. The vetting process of all staff members, including polygraph testing.
6. The installation of a fingerprint terminal at the FLA.
7. The confiscation of all guns in storage beyond the legal time.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the JDF will be invited to examine and use any of these firearms confiscated, and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust will be asked to review any historical value of the firearms. All other firearms will be sent to the JDF to be destroyed. This process had already started in June and finishes at the end of September.
8. Supplying the JCF with a list of persons who have not renewed their permits during the amnesty that ended in July. (The list is now completed and is to be handed over shortly).
9. The programme of review of all firearm trainers will be continued, and despite objections, the board policy of annual certification of trainers will be implemented.
10. The separation of the new applications department from the operation of the review board will lead to better protection of confidentiality.
11. The review of the Firearms Act and regulations to close gaps and modernise the law is soon to be completed.