Moonilal: Hinds recommended people for FULs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.

Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has accused National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of recommending several people for firearms users’ licences (FULs). Hinds has denied the allegation.

During Wednesday’s sitting of the Joint Select Committee on National Security, addressing the

factors contributing to the prevalence of illegal firearms and gun violence, Moonilal asked Hinds whether he would agree that prime ministers and ministers of government should not be recommending private citizens for FULs.

“The former commissioner of police is on record as saying that very high-ranking officials, including Fitzgerald Hinds and myself, requested or recommended people for obtaining an FUL. Would you agree to a shift that PMs, MPs, and goverment ministers should not be recommending private citizens for FULs?”

Hinds said and reiterated that he did not remember recommending anyone for an FUL.

“I want the record to read that I recommended no-one for a firearm users’ licence.”

Moonilal later sent photos to the media of a WhatsApp conversation, purportedly between former police commissioner Gary Griffith and Hinds. The first message read,

“Commissioner, I have a couple FUL applications for my security detail of soldiers. There is no objection from their warrant officer and the TTDF. I have watched them now for two years and I am satisfied that they are fit and worthy. They rotate with the CJ’s detail as well. Please give them your most favourable consideration. Should I send them directly to you.”

The response was “Yeah, just WhatsApp me full name with reference number.”

Several other messages followed in which Hinds purportedly followed up on these applications.

When the messages were forwarded to Griffith for comment, he said Hinds, the PM, and the current police commissioner were being hypocritical in their stance on FULs.

“These three people give the impression that recommending people to have firearms or law-abiding citizens acquiring firearms is the worst thing, but these three individuals cannot, in any way, state that they were not instrumental or a part of trying to assist many people in acquiring firearms.

“I have no issue with that at all, because it is your right to recommend people to the police commissioner or whoever, and then it is that you will do due diligence to ascertain if the people are eligible, entitled, and of sound body and mind to acquire it.”

Asked whether the photos were of his conversations with Hinds, Griffith said, “No comment.”