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Outgoing Police Commissioner ordered to revoke his own firearm licence

Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud.

Guyana’s Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud was ordered to revoke his own firearm dealer’s licence that he granted himself last month shortly after he resumed duty, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said.

“What he did was undone by my instructing him to revoke that licence…What he did was undone by my instructing him to have it revoked and that’s the end of the matter,” Ramjattan told Demerara Waves Online News briefly.

The Firearms Act does not empower the Minister to revoke a firearm dealer’s licence; only the prescribed officer in the area

The law requires applications to be sent to the Police Commissioner who is required to conduct a background check to ascertain whether that person has any criminal report, is engaged in any illegal activity, a threat to national security or is engaged in any other activity that will render him ineligible to become a licensed firearms dealer. The law states that a report on the findings must be  sent to the Minister who will then dispatch it to the Firearms Licensing Approval Board for a review. The Board then recommends to the Minister whether a licensed firearms dealership should be granted to the applicant and the Minister then decides, either in his own deliberate judgement or on the basis of the recommendation, whether a firearm dealership certificate should be issued.

News of Persaud granting himself a firearm dealer’s licence on January 29, 2018 for Professional Outdoor Supplies first appeared in the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper on Wednesday, February 28, 2018-the same day he will host a farewell parade as he goes into retirement.

Well-placed sources said the issue of the Police Commissioner granting himself a firearm dealer’s licence and licences for one 9 MM pistol and one pump action shotgun was raised at Cabinet one month ago. It is unclear whether the Police Commissioner’s applications were processed by the Firearms Licensing Authority Board.

This is the second time in recent months that Police Commissioner Persaud has found himself at odds with the political administration; the first being when a Commission of Inquiry into an alleged assassination plot against President David Granger had recommended that he be dismissed or removed.

The Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are appointed by the President in keeping with Guyana’s Constitution.