The Guyana Police Force is rejecting claims that the government’s gun amnesty programme was a failure and in a statement on Wednesday labeled the initiative “a huge success.”
The amnesty, which was extended on September 30 by 14 days, ends today.
As of yesterday (October 13), a total of 171 firearms were surrendered to the police. The Force, in response to a newspaper article, offered clarifications to reports that none of the weapons received were linked to any criminal activity.
During a forum hosted by the police on Tuesday in Berbice, Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud, did say that the Police Force did not expect that criminals using firearms to rob persons as their only means of providing for themselves would turn in the firearms.
He also said, similarly, it was not expected that drug traffickers and persons involved in organized crime and who use firearms to protect their interests would turn in the firearms.
The Commissioner of Police emphasized however, that the 171 firearms that have been turned in so far can no longer get into the hands of persons with criminal intent, nor can they be used to harm persons in moments of anger, by persons who had possession of them.
“That can no way support a conclusion… that the Firearm Amnesty Programme was a failure,” the police statement noted.
The statement said the “intent of the Amnesty was to have unlicensed firearms turned in to the police and that is exactly what the programme has achieved”.
In September, Persaud stated that guns and ammunition surrendered to the police during the amnesty could be used to prosecute in other crimes if the links were found.
Persaud clarified that the government pardon only grants amnesty for the possession of firearms and made it clear that the police will not go after anyone who submits a weapon that may have been used in a criminal offense.