Thu | Sep 28, 2023

'Wild Card' former police commissioner blamed for proliferation of guns in Trinidad

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 12:22 PM
National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds addressing PNM public meeting on Thursday night. - CMC photo

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has blamed “a very wild card” former commissioner of police, he said had in recent times defied government policy and allowed for a certain category of weapons and ammunition to be available to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

Hinds, addressing a public meeting of the ruling People's National Movement (PNM) in Malabar, on Thursday night, did not name the “wild card” commissioner, but said that the ammunition in question had been banned by the United Nations.

He said about 280 military-grade weapons, used mainly by soldiers and military people in combat, had been recovered so far this year.

“In 2012, the police recovered 420 of them, by 2017, 1,064 illegal firearms were seized by the police and 2022, 704 and as I speak to you today about 280 firearms have been recovered.

“Many of them military grade …carrying and using 5.56 and 7.62 ammunition, very very much available around the place,” he added.

Hinds said the authorities had seized more than 100 of those type of weapons and blamed these guns for the death of a woman, who was shot and killed in her bedroom, while rival gangs were engaged in a war.

“Some time ago the United Nations outlawed 7.6 ammunition, the kind of ammunition used in SLR (Self Reloading Rifles) in our days because they are downright dangerous. But now they are proliferating in the society and sadly outside of government policy within recent times, a very wild card Commissioner of Police, as he then was, made 7.62 ammunition and weapons available to members of this country.”

Hinds said that at the end of last month, 242 people had been murdered including 114 gang related killings,  followed by 31 drug related murders and 21 revenge killings.

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