From National Transformation Alliance
Media release; 8th February, 2023
Tuesday night’s debate in Parliament of the Firearms Amendment Bill 2022, revealed several things, but perhaps the most significant, is the government’s intention to inject the Minister of National Security into the process of firearms licences. Something which is now at the sole discretion of the Commissioner of Police. And if we recall, NTA Political Leader and Former Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, complained that attempts were made by senior government officials, to coerce him into issuing licences to certain persons, closely aligned to these officials. Unable to control Griffith, and still reeling from the failed efforts to discredit him, re the issuance of Firearms licences, it seems they have now resorted to the next best thing, legislating political interference into the process.
What was also revealed at last night’s sitting was that Hinds has now schizophrenically reversed his two year position, and indeed campaign against legal firearms, and is now championing its benefits, even going so far to make the statement that “I can tell you, from information available to me, the possession of a firearm(Legal) does help.”
More vindication for Gary Griffith occurred when Hinds revealed that the government intends to issue an electronic card, which would have certain information that could be used to easily and efficiently validate legal firearms. This was implemented by Griffith as CoP, in 2020 and it was shut down by McDonald Jacob in October 2021, less than two months after Griffith was no longer head of TTPS. These electronic cards Hinds said are necessary because the old system which compels FUL holders to have a booklet on their person at all times, is cumbersome and they ‘can, and do get damaged.’
In addition, apart from non-lethals for municipal police officers and by extension Special Reserve Police (SRP), Hinds’ bill’s main focus was in providing firearms for at-risk prison officers. Another demonstration of Hinds’ bipolar approach, since he would constantly attack Griffith’s approval of legal firearms, even though Griffith was addressing this same concern with prison officers and other members of the protective services being at risk, by the fact that more than half of the licenses issued by Griffith were for these same at risk groups.
But perhaps Hinds’ biggest turn around, and in effect an admittance of his previous failed arguments against Griffith occurred, is that having argued that there were too many firearms issued by Griffith, he now wants to expand the persons who can issue legal firearm licenses to the Commissioner of Prisons and the head of the SSA. And whilst the Prison and Police services are independent bodies with the requisite legislation and infrastructure to manage such a process, as the issuance of legal firearms, the NTA joins the independent senators of Parliament in expressing our concerns about the head of the SSA having this unregulated power, with the only oversight being parliament and the National Security Council, which are both made up and run by politicians, who could then perhaps do such things as appeal to the head of the SSA for licences for friends and colleagues, as some high-ranking public officials have done in the past when Griffith was Commissioner of Police. Not an attack on the present head of the SSA, but a warning that such a precedent could lead to chaos, since politicians choose the head of the SSA, and some time in the future we could see a head who falls victim to political dictates.
In this regard, Hinds appeared to come clean by admitting he did contact Griffith when he Griffith was Commissioner, to make a case for certain persons to get firearms, in what appears to be in direct contradiction to previous statements made by Hinds in the Parliament when he denied any such claims. This again highlights the most dangerous part of the bill, and that is government interference and overreach, which when viewed with the context of the merit list fiasco where the Prime Minister went to President House and met with then PolSC Chair Bliss Seepersad, the subsequent illegal suspension of Griffith by Bliss Seepersad, after that meeting, and then the two years of constant attacks against Griffith’s character about legal firearms, despite never even having an allegation of impropriety, citizens are forced to conclude that the reason for the ‘Get Gary’ campaign, was to have the final political say in who gets and keeps legal firearms. A frightening thought, especially since this Rowley led government has repeatedly signalled undemocratic, dictatorial leanings.
NTA General Secretary
WhatsApp: 482-Gary  / 483-Gary