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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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Chamber head: Don’t arm businesspeople

Daphne Bartlett, 
President of the 
San Fernando 
Business Association
Daphne Bartlett, President of the San Fernando Business Association


PRESIDENT of the Greater San Fernando Area Chamber of Commerce Kriyan Singh says putting guns into the hands of business owners in the city could cause more bloodshed on the streets. Last week, head of the San Fernando Business Association (SBA) Daphne Bartlett called for businesspeople to be armed. But Singh disagrees.

He spoke to the media when Snr Supt Zamsheed Mohammed visited his businessplace in RRM Plaza during a walkabout in the city. Singh said bandits would target business owners just to get their guns.

“We have to be careful about how we issue this call for everyone to have guns. Having a gun is a serious responsibility and sometimes you can become a greater target for the bandits when you have a firearm, because then they might come looking for you because you have a firearm, not necessarily because you are financially well off,” Singh said. He said if the business community partners with the protective services, the police would be able to do their jobs properly. “That may position that red bullet on the back of you stronger than before. We need to treat with this carefully.We have the protective services and if we partner with them and encourage them, they will do the job they were put there for.”

He said media reports have labelled shootouts as scenes from the Wild West in the recent past and that is not needed in San Fernando. “We want shoppers to be safe and to feel safe. Everybody having a firearm doesn’t mean crime will be solved, because what will happen? Everybody will be shooting everybody else when they refuse to pay a bill?” Asked about his take on Bartlett’s call, Mohammed said he could not comment, as it is a question for Commissioner Stephen Williams alone. However, he said business owners can hire private security firms who provide armed officers.

“This is what the security firms and organisations are here for. They are here to lend support to the police and the business places. Of course, they have to pay for it ,but they are an arm of the protective service really and their services are available to all the business people,” Mohammed said.

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