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Firearm license racket uncovered; officer, others removed

A senior officer and other members of the police force have been removed from a section of the Police Commissioner’s office that handles firearm license applications after they allegedly took monies to fast-track processing.

Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell on Wednesday confirmed that Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee has spoken with him about police allegedly benefitting from inducements to fast-track the processing of firearm licenses.

“Yes the Minister spoke to me a couple of times and based on it I said I’ll look and I have been looking and I have been listening but there comes a time…Everybody’s time will come that you have to go,” he said.

When asked whether an officer and other members of the police force were transferred from that section, the Police Commissioner said: “We have heard things but then I have looked at my administration and if I am of the view that moving them away from the administration would make it a little easy for me, I will do it.”

Police sources earlier this month said the racket was uncovered during a probe into the killing of a sawmill supervisor at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara. When the sawmill owner was called in for questioning, it was revealed that the man was a licensed firearm holder.

But checks by officials at the Home Affairs Ministry resulted in several red flags being uncovered including a breach of procedures in the issuance process. It was noted that the man was among several persons who were not on a list of persons which was in possession of the ministry.

This resulted in an internal probe at Eve Leary in which the senior official and staff were investigated and checks determined that they played a major role in the licences being issued without the involvement of the Home Affairs Ministry.

It was at this point that ministry officials received information from persons in the public domain that monies were paid to persons at the Eve Leary unit in order to speed up the issuance of their licence applications but same were never issued.

According to the source, the senior police officer who worked closely with the Police Commissioner was subsequently transferred to the West Demerara area while staffers were also removed from the unit.