Last Updated on Friday, 12 February 2016, 7:19 by Denis Chabrol
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan says it was the People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration that had already decided to increase the cost of firearm licenses since 2013, but had decided against implementing it for political reasons.
Ramjattan told the House during the National Budget debate that Guyana’s then Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee and Head of the Presidential Secretariat had signed a Cabinet paper in 2012 to increase license fees for shot guns from GYD$2,000 to GYD$5,000 per year and handguns from GYD$5,000 to GYD$20,000. “I don’t know what they rowing about. They argued the case,” he said.
The Public Security Minister said the opposition PPPC was only now objecting because it was under his stewardship that the increases would take effect. “They did not implement it probably for political reasons but it was debated and they passed it at the Cabinet,” he said.
Ramjattan said the now nine-month old coalition administration was going ahead with that decision because it is necessary.
Rohee has accused government of engaging in a “lazy” approach to raising revenue by hiking the firearm licence fees. “The movement is an exorbitant one and it will put pressure [on people]… when you go to renew your licences now, you have to pay that additional sum of money and this is thousands of dollars. Who don’t need thousands of dollars in their pockets?,” Rohee has said.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan has announced that the rifle licence fee would be increased from GYD$5,000 to GYD$40,000 and the dealer’s licence from GYD$7,500 to GYD$150,000.