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PM Dickon Mitchell puts criminal elements on notice

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell holds the portfolio of National Security in the Congress government with oversight for the Police Force

The Police will soon be armed with superior guns to take the fight to them

Grenada police are being equipped with very high powered weapons to take the fight to criminal elements in the country who have themselves allegedly acquired some of the latest hardware to defend their illegal activities.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell announced at a Town Hall meeting in St Andrew on Monday night that he had given the order for the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to make the purchase of these guns to put the Police in a superior position whenever the need arises for them to be used.

He disclosed that no firearms have been procured for RGPF for years and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is now addressing the issue.

If them criminals feel they have long guns we will give the police longer guns. So we have placed the order so that the Police can in fact be properly equipped,” he said.

“We hope it never has to come to this (a gun battle between the police and criminal elements) but if it comes to this we need to ensure that they (RGPF) have the decisive advantage in treating with those who are not prepared to take the amnesty that we have offered.

This is in reference to the 3-month gun amnesty introduced by the State which expires on July 31.

THE NEW TODAY has been told about claims in the Underworld that one of the Dons in the illegal Cocaine trade has imported about 6 automatic AR-15 guns.

In recent weeks, three persons were gunned down in gang-related violence on the island.

The Prime Minister announced that the government has authorised the purchase of additional vehicles for the police.

Citizens have often complained that police do not respond to their requests for help on the grounds of a lack of vehicles.

The Grenadian leader told the Town Hall meeting that the government is looking at purchasing some water tanks to be used as fire trucks based on the advice of “a good citizen.”

He said the Commissioner of Police Don McKenzie and a team from RGPF travelled overseas to look at the tanker and were satisfied that it can be used as a fire truck and the government has now given the greenlight to purchase one.

“We will bring it, test it and if it works we intend to buy some more to ensure that at a minimum there is some form of fire truck available with water in each parish of Grenada to address the risk of fire,” he added.

The Prime Minister also reported on moves afoot to help the police to acquire more tools to fight criminal activities in the country.

He said the police need to be in a position to access the phone of persons who are suspected of committing a criminal offense.

“We have given the go-ahead for the police to acquire the necessary equipment to allow them to do so.”

“We have also given the ok for the police to acquire an automated fingerprinting system to improve their chances of detecting and solving crime.”

“We need to make sure that the police can improve in that area – the systems are outdated and we have also given them the necessary budgetary allocation and the procurement will be done to ensure that this happens.”

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell reported that he lawmen have been making some headway in recovering a number of illegal firearms in the country.

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He disclosed that in the six month period between January and June this year, the police had confiscated 35 firearms which is more than the number recovered for the whole of 2023.

The Prime Minister announced that a few people have voluntarily surrendered their illegal firearms in-keeping with an amnesty period of three months now in force on the island.

“I want to give those who brought in the firearm a round of applause because they are doing the wise thing and they are acting not only in their own interest but also in the interest of Grenada,” he told the packed audience at the Deluxe Cinema in Grenville, St Andrew.

He noted that the firearm amnesty expires July 31 and the following day on August 1 the government will pass in Parliament the Firearms Amendment Bill which provides for stiff penalties including up to 40 years in prison for offenders.

The Congress leader acknowledged that there was an increase in gun-related violence on the island in recent months but said that other forms of criminal activities were “tending downwards.”

The Prime Minister announced that his 2-year old government has taken the decision to improve on several police stations unlike that of his predecessor, the New National Party (NNP) of Keith Mitchell.

He admitted that several of the island’s police stations “are not fit for human habitation but police officers still continued to work out of them.”

He said it is going to take a lot of planning and money to build new police stations around the island but Congress is committed to this undertaking.

On assuming office, the NDC government commissioned a study into the state of police stations in Grenada and the conclusion was that they are all in need of “significant work” but cannot be done with police officers working in the building.

He said that the government will be moving to rent a building at considerable monthly cost just to house the administrative arm of the Grenville Police Station which is in a terrible state of disrepair.

“We will relocate the Grenville Police Station in short order – we will take the necessary steps to either demolish the existing building if it cannot be saved or to repair it and that will happen within this term,” he remarked.

On moving the police headquarters from Fort George to the former Lime building on the Carenage that has been bought by the government, the Prime Minister said this is on the way and expects that the heavy construction work will be completed by the end of June.

He urged the contractor to make sure that the police can move into the building over the next two to three months.

He also announced that the keys are ready for handing over to the police to move back into the St Paul’s police station from the Community Centre at St Paul’s after substantial renovation work was done on the building.

PM Dickon Mitchell referred to the Coastguard base at True Blue as ”another disaster” that was inherited from the former NNP government following a devastating fire and gave an undertaking to tackle it during this current term in office of Congress.

In addition, he said the nation can look forward to the government addressing those dilapidated police stations in Birchgrove, Grand Roy, Gouyave, Victoria, and St David as they have been left in a state of disrepair over several decades.

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