The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has signaled its intention to tackle the large number of illegal firearms on the island.
The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has provided statistics to show that there has been an almost 100% increase in the number of firearms confiscated in the first seven months of this year when compared with the corresponding period in 2022.
A number of firearms were also used to commit criminal activities on the island including a murder on the sister isle of Carriacou in which the suspect has been on the run from law enforcement officers for more than three months now.
THE NEW TODAY believes that the increasing presence of firearms is an indication that the drug trade is flourishing and growing in Grenada.
It is a known fact that those engaged in the illegal drug trade do possess the necessary firearm power to protect their business.
It is our view that the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security must move quickly to Parliament to amend the Firearms act and make it more difficult for persons who are caught with illegal guns to get bail as is currently the case.
The general rule is that a person is innocent of any crime until a court of law rules otherwise.
The law should be amended in such a way that the Magistrate or Judge would not be tempted to grant bail on the grounds that a person’s constitutional rights might be violated to hold them for any length of time in prison.
State prosecutors must seek to build a case that a person caught with illegal guns and ammunition pose a serious flight risk given the stiff and heavy fines and should be kept in safe custody at the Richmond Hill prison.
THE NEW TODAY is suggesting an amendment to the law to provide for bail to be granted in the amount of EC$250, 000.00 in cash only for illegal possession of firearms.
The Prime Minister and his advisors at the level of the Ministry of National Security should also provide financial rewards of around EC$1500. 00 to $2000.00 to anyone who provides information that can lead to the recovery of a firearm on the island.
No more time should be wasted on offering gun amnesty as this has been tried in the past and was not as successful.
Grenadians know who has the guns and in some cases can point the police in the right direction to retrieve it.
With some kind of incentive to the people, RGPF will get sufficient information that will prove to be successful in recovering several of the illegal firearms in circulation in the country.
There is a saying that when your neighbour’s house is on fire that you need to wet yours.
The recent executions in St Vincent & The Grenadines should serve as a warning to those in authority in Grenada that this kind of killing which is linked to the illegal drug trade can also happen in the Spice Isle.
There has been a changing of the guards in Grenada in terms of the persons who are engaged in the illegal drug trade and which brings with it an increasing number of guns.
Several of the culprits are sophisticated, possess a secondary school education and will not think twice about pulling the trigger on anyone who poses a threat to their business.
The unfortunate thing in Grenada is that there is no known “elder” in the illegal drug trade who can move into a hot area and cool things down if there is potential warfare over turf control among some of the gangs.
THE NEW TODAY also wish to make a passing comment on the promise made last week at a press briefing by Acting Commissioner of Police Don McKenzie to provide an update on the work of the Committee that was named by former Commissioner Edvin Martin to look into reports that senior police officers were engaged in rampant sexual molestation of female officers.
This committee involved the most high-ranking female member of RGPF and the issue is what authority this individual had to question any officer above her rank who was suspected of committing such acts.
There are allegations that some of the top members in the force are still engaged in the dirty practice and act.
Commissioner Don McKenzie should be aware that he will have to come clean on the work of the committee and what action has been taken if indeed a report was handed in to the High Command on the issue.
It will not be business as usual in RGPF when it comes to sexual abuse by the so-called “Men in Khaki” on female police officers.