‘Hogwash!’ - Opposition spokesman rejects Montague’s explanation of firearm licenses
Opposition spokesman on national security, Fitz Jackson, says the recent revelation that Robert Montague overruled the recommendations of the country's intelligence and security authorities and granted firearm licences to persons with adverse findings, while he served as minister of national security, is unnerving.
According to Jackson, Montague must be sanctioned for this reckless undertaking that could have added fuel to the raging fire of murders in which the island is engulfed.
"Twenty-nine times Mr Montague deliberately went against expert advice and possibly empowered persons with criminal intent," said Jackson.
He has called on National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang to immediately establish an independent audit of these 29 cases and overturn the decisions, as he did in the revocation of the used-car policy.
Alleged gang leader
Last Friday, Montague responded to a report aired by Television Jamaica about his overruling the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) and approving a firearms licence to a man who the security forces had found not to be fit to get one, with the man becoming a national security asset.
Montague further declared that he had empowered a team of six persons to hear appeals of the FLA decisions and did not make any call on his own.
But Jackson said Montague's explanation was nothing but "hogwash".
"Mr Montague knew that based on all the intelligence available to him that this man was an alleged gang leader and lottery scammer, whose application was rejected by the Firearm Licensing Authority and the Review Panel.
"He also knew that the police had a mountain of information on this individual in relation to a number of investigations. Therefore, the explanation that this person was a 'national
security asset' was simply an invention to justify the unethical use of power to grant him and others firearm licences," charged Jackson.