Commentary: FUL Renewals

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By Dr Neil Gosine

THE Office of the Commissioner of Police is being threatened with legal action over a recently published notice with respect to the requirements for the renewal of firearm user’s licences (FULs).

Attorney Nyree Alfonso outlined in a letter to the Office of the Commissioner of Police  that the law did not require those who had obtained their FULs prior to 2004 to have it renewed.

Nyree Alfonso said that the current wording of Section 17(6) of the Firearms Act: “A licence held by a person prior to the coming into of this Act (in May 2004) shall continue to be valid after the commencement of this Act”, means basically that “such licence shall remain in force until revoked or otherwise terminated.” 

The commissioner of police has represented herself as calling upon thousands of licensed firearm holders to obtain medical cer­tificates and certificates of competence again, and this will no doubt require a lot of time to comply with these requirements if the commissioner of police continues down this line with renewals of FULs.

It seems that the current administration at the office of the CoP is so consumed with personal vendettas or agendas that it has missed the real pathway they originally set out when they first started the journey. It has caused them to become blind to what they wanted to accomplish by the amendments to the Firearms Act.

Intentions always seem honourable at the beginning of the journey but until we are seated on the chair of power, that is where we get our wires crossed and blurred, where the little devil on your shoulder suddenly becomes louder than its counterpart. As the saying goes “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That is why it is clear to onlookers that since the unceremonious exit of the previous top cop Gary Griffith there has been a dedicated team put in place to rummaging through everything they can put their hands on in an attempt to gather enough evidence to point a finger or two in the way FULs were distributed to law abiding individuals. All originating from the liberal stance the previous CoP took as it relates to the issuing of FULs. For the first time in our history, this gave the law-abiding businessperson or person a fighting chance to stand your ground and protect your business or family in this crime-riddled country. They have been looking for that needle in the haystack that seems to be elusive at this point or does not exist. Nevertheless, audit after audit has taken place coming up with zero so far.

Egg remains on the faces of the police service and its leadership. It is alleged that the latest ongoing audit is currently taking place in the Eastern District where they are calling in all holders of FULs to visit the station with their firearms for inspection. This normally takes place on an annual basis when all FUL holders are required to visit their respective districts to pay their license fee and present their firearms for an inspection. So why conduct this in this manner now? The amount of time and wasted manpower hours to hunt down FU’s owners, one wonders if they couldn’t handle this in a normal manner? While the audit is taking place, a new process in licensing your firearm has been implemented by the office of the CoP which is currently being challenged in the court by two law firms.

The new process, if successful will capture all the information being sort by the audit. This is clearly another overlap that’s taking place as it seems to be a gross mismanagement of resources. Such a waste of time and effort which could be channeled elsewhere such as dealing with the spate of violence and murders across the country. We are currently under siege with the amount of murders and robberies which daily seek out the unexpecting, the innocent, the elderly, the businesspeople, and now the return of kidnapping are all causing much distress and heartache.

“The single biggest way to impact an organisation is to focus on leadership”, where is the leadership in this organization? The performance of any institution once properly led will bear positive results and I’m praying that the current CoP prays are answered as she has called for divine intervention to deal with crime in her own words she said, “An evil has spread over the land and we must recognise, those of you who are spiritually inclined, you must recognise that this is beyond the physical and unless we seek the intervention of that greater spirit, whatever we may call him, we know we have different religions, so who will call him God, who will call him …”

In the meantime, the FUL holders have a serious issue that requires urgent resolution as it potentially affected thousands of FUL holders who would be anxious to comply with directives issued by the commissioner. Some must be done! 

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.

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