ROSEAU, Dominica -- Law enforcement officials here have admitted that a gun amnesty launched in Dominica a few years ago has failed.
The gun amnesty, which was spearheaded by the government of Dominica, was geared towards persons with illegal firearms.
They were asked to bring these firearms to the police and would not face any charges; however, according to reports, only two persons took advantage of that.
Assistant Superintendent Inspector Claude Weekes (File Photo)
Speaking on the heels of several gun related incidents over the past few months, Assistant Superintendent Inspector Claude Weekes has made further appeal to young persons who own illegal firearms to hand them over.
“You are putting yourselves in serious problems, you do not have a licence and it’s not registered,” Weekes told CBN4 news.
He warned that the police will spare no effort in recovery of these firearms.
“If we have an intelligence, we will get at you, we will extract and get the firearms… we are sending a strong message and please comply with the police,” he added.
According to Weekes, the government has implemented a number of amnesties and none were successful.
“We did not see firearms coming in at all. People were holding on to their firearms despite the plea by the relevant authorities; the police; the government; the church fraternity and others…,”he stated.
He further noted that, in the old Act, if one was found guilty of owning an illegal firearm that individual would be fined $6,000; however, in the recent Act, one could be charged up to $15,000-$20,000 and sentenced to 8-10 years in prison.
“The laws are there and we are charging people… countries all over the world are concerned about small arms. They are concerned about firearm related offences and we should not take it for a joke here in Dominica,” he explained.
“if people are caught with firearms without licence and it’s not registered they must be dealt with according to the law,” Weekes added.
Meanwhile, Police Superintendent David Andrew said the failure of the gun amnesty has forced police to develop a new strategy; one that he said is bearing fruit.
“Since the amnesty did not bear fruit, the police developed a strategy, an intelligence driven methodology and I can assure you that it had been bearing great fruits,” he said.
In fact, he said, using the new method, “In one year we were able to identify, locate and seize as many as 22 unlawful, unlicensed firearms.”
Republished with permission of CBN4News