Griffith: What about illegal guns?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

NTA Political Leader Gary Griffith. –

POLITICAL leader of the National Transformation Alliance (NTA), former police commissioner Gary Griffith is again training his proverbial guns on the leadership of the police service for attacking firearm user’s licence (FUL) holders while ignoring illegal guns.

In a media release on Sunday, Griffith said “of the 520 or so murders (for the year),” only one was committed with a legal firearm.

He was referring to the murder of teacher and attorney Keisha-Marina Bostic by her estranged husband, Shamzard Mohammed, who also killed himself, on Friday.

Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob was quoted as saying he intends to crackdown on the number of licenced firearms an individual can hold while also intending to propose changes to the law to limit licences.

Griffth described Jacob as an “old school police officer” and said under his tenure there were no murders with the use of legal weapons. He said when he was commissioner, all FUL holders had to receive permission from their spouses to get a firearm.

“If a domestic violence report was made which involved an FUL holder that would immediately trigger a system where the Gender Based Violence Unit would contact the commissioner’s office, which, in turn, would immediately dispatch officers to seize any and all legal firearms.”

He asked if that system was still operational as other systems put in place by him for FULs have since been disbanded.

“Plans were already in place to have psychometric testing done every two years for FUL holders and spousal consent would also be required as part of this very stringent process. Domestic-violence prevention took top priority during my tenure which is why the Gender Based Violence Unit was formed in January 2020, and which is why spouses held so much power when it came to their partners getting and keeping their firearms.”

Griffith said while citizens recognise the crime problem is because of illegal firearms, there was now an obsession over legal firearms by the authorities.

He also said the issuing of multiple firearms to an FUL holder pre-dated his time in office, but noted there was no issue back then. He said there were justifiable reasons for an individual to have multiple firearms, such as trainers, sportsmen, hunters and those with multiple businesses.