NTA endorses Kamla's plan to arm off-duty protective services

Gary Griffith - File photo
Gary Griffith - File photo

NATIONAL Transformation Alliance (NTA) leader Gary Griffth says he endorses United National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s promise to arm off-duty police and prison officers with licensed guns.

The former Commissioner of Police (CoP) has also acknowledged that Persad-Bissessar did not make the particular promise for the first time on May 27 – a month after he made a similar promise at an NTA supporters’ meeting – but rather more than a year before.

Griffith complained on May 28 that media reported on Persad-Bissessar’s election promise but not his after he made similar comments at an NTA meeting in April.

The NTA issued a press release on Thursday, saying it wished to “fully endorse and support the comments made by the Political Leader of the UNC, Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, promising to support the acquisition of legal firearms for law enforcement officials.

“She made this call not only at a recent public meeting but also over a year ago in another forum.”

The statement said Persad-Bissessar’s views are “consistent with Griffith’s actions,” while he served as CoP between 2018-2021.

He noted that “some 3,000 (firearms users licences) were acquired by past and present members of the protective services, once they met the stringent criteria set by Griffith and had no criminal or disciplinary charges against them.“Griffith ensured that every FUL acquired by the civilian population, about 0.3 per cent was matched with legal firearms for police, prison, and Defence Force personnel, among others.”

The statement said 15,000 members of the protective services who wanted and qualified for a legal gun, would have received one within five years “had Griffith's diligence in responding to the grave threats faced by (protective services members) continued after his departure in 2021.”

Instead, he said it would take approximately 750 years to meet the needs of all members “under the current Rowley-led government and his choice of CoP, who has only issued around one hundred FULs, with 20 going to the protective services.”

He said the political “witch hunt against legal firearms that Rowley, Hinds, and other members of the National Security Council have engaged in for years…has failed miserably because the facts are that not a single FUL issued by Griffith to civilians or past and present memb

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