Press Release:– There are no plans for the Government to reinstate a Firearm Amnesty on the island.
The Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Senator the Honourable Hermangild Francis sought to clear the air on Thursday, August 8, 2019 as he expressed surprise after reading a Voice Newspaper article headlined: “Is the guns for cash amnesty back on track”?
The article appears to be insinuating that the government would implement a ‘guns for cash amnesty’. A gun Amnesty had been implemented here during the period 1997 to 2006.
Published in the Voice Newspaper of August 8, the commentary carrying the by-line of Journalist Mr. Earl Bousquet seems to imply that the programme was being revisited for implementation.
Mr. Francis indicated that he is not a proponent of this type of crime-fighting strategy because there are other serious implications that can easily compromise its effectiveness. The Minister says the amnesty would normally create a lull in gun related crimes; nevertheless criminal elements would not very easily submit or volunteer their weapons.
“I took umbrage to this article and the commentary by Mr. Earl Bousquet because I have been at pains to indicate that I do not believe in the Cash for Guns Amnesty and for Mr. Bousquet to say that the government is trying to bring that programme back is not correct and he should apologize for that statement he has made about me. I have never endorsed it and I will ever endorse the Guns for Cash Amnesty”.
The Minister noted that his position on the issue has been consistent from his tenure as Deputy Commissioner of Police within the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force to the present.
“I just wanted to clear that issue because as a senior journalist that I personally held a great deal of respect for, I think Mr. Bousquet has to be more precise in the things that he writes about”.
Mr. Francis said however, that the Police are working assiduously to stem the proliferation of illegal guns. He noted that members of the public should also report any information that they have on illegal firearms activity to the Police or they may call the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Crime Hotline 45CRIME or 4527463.