Mon | Dec 11, 2017

UPDATE: Montague orders FLA review amid gun permit controversy

Published:Friday | July 28, 2017 | 6:13 PM
Robert Montague ... raised concern that licenses were being granted before the appeal of certain applicants were heard.

The National Security Minister Robert Montague has asked the Review Board of the Firearm Licensing Authority to undertake a review of the agency’s process, procedures and systems.

The National Security Ministry made the announcement in a statement this afternoon, following a meeting between the minister and the FLA board.

It's the second review audit being ordered in a year.

The minister summoned the FLA board after reports that a man the police labelled an organised criminal was granted a firearm permit.

Montague said at the meeting, the board reported that it raised questions about the licensed firearm holder during a meeting with the Police High Command in early February 2017. 

READ:  Police letter about controversial firearm permit holder

He said it is to be noted that this person had a case in court which was tried and discharged.

According to the minister a request was made for further information which was provided by the police on June 29, 2017, following which the license was revoked on July 13, 2017.

He has also raised concern that licenses were being granted before the appeal of certain applicants were heard.

Read full statement from the National Security Ministry:

Minister of National Security Minister, Robert Montague this afternoon met with members of the Board of the Firearm Licensing Authority where he was informed of the situation surrounding the denial and subsequent approval of a firearm application by the Board of the Authority.

The FLA informed the Minister that approval of a firearm license following a denial is a practise which existed prior to the installation of the new Board.

The Board said it followed established protocol and reviewed all cases where allegations were made against licensed firearm holders, and where charges against them were dismissed in court.

Persons have written the FLA Board asking for a reconsideration of the matter, as well as for an interview.

With regards to the case now in the public domain, the Board says it raised questions about the licensed firearm holder during a meeting with the Police High Command in early February 2017. 

It is to be noted that this person had a case in court which was tried and discharged.

A request was made for further information which was provided by the police on June 29, 2017, following which the license was revoked on July 13, 2017.

Reference was also made to the case of an applicant who was convicted of fraud overseas, served 17 months in prison and was then deported to Jamaica.  He applied and was denied a firearm license on November 13, 2014.  However, he wrote the then Board appealing the decision.

On February 12, 2015, he was granted a firearm license the approval for which was signed by the then Board Chairman Robert Gregory.

In May, the FLA Board met with the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency and asked the Agency to be a part of the vetting process.  In addition, the FLA has initiated a system to refer to MOCA, more than 100 files of persons previously granted firearms.

This action is as a result of information the new board has found that persons whose files were subject to the appeals process, were being granted firearms before the appeal was heard.

The FLA says it is now digitising its records in an effort to ensure accountability of documents and information received.

Minister Montague has also asked the Review Board headed by Former Court of Appeal President Justice Seymour Panton to undertake a review of the FLA’s process, procedures and systems.