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US suspends firearm exports to Jamaica following FLA controversy

Published:Thursday | November 10, 2016 | 11:25 PM

The United States has suspended the export of guns to Jamaica following the recent worrying developments at the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA).

The FLA has been at the centre of a growing controversy since Patrick Powell was freed of the murder of a schoolboy and revelations that his main file at the authority has gone missing. 

A short while ago, the US Embassy in Kingston issued a statement announcing the export suspension.

"In light of recent events concerning Jamaica’s Firearm Licensing Authority, the U.S. Embassy is reviewing the firearm export licensing approval process," an Embassy spokesperson said.

It said during this review, there will be a pause on firearm exports as Washington is engaged to provide further guidance on the long-term status of export licences for firearms from the United States destined for Jamaica.

The Embassy gave no further details and it's not clear how this will affect the security forces.

The FLA has said evidence of the last movement of Powell's file was on April 14, 2015 when an officer in the then CEO’s office made a request from the FLA Registry.

In 2006, the FLA took over the issuance of firearm licences from the police.

The Ministry of National Security is conducting a review of the FLA's systems.