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Mar 12, 2009

Eighty-six illegal firearms destroyed by police

Story PictureThe media was invited today to the Queen Street Police Station, the venue for the destruction of the most recent cache of illegal weapons. And while this time there were no hand grenades, among the eighty-six firearms were high caliber weapons including an M-sixteen, a sixteen gauge shotgun, and also home-made pen guns. Marion Ali was on hand for the event.

Marion Ali, Reporting
The dismantling of an assortment of guns that were rendered illegal took a few hours to complete. The guns, many of which have been used in armed robberies and perhaps even murders, also included those handed in during last October’s amnesty programme. Their destruction today made the once deadly weapons irreparable.

A.C.P. Allen Whylie, Cmdr., Management Services
“The manner in which they are being destroyed they usually take about three to four cuts and we’re destroying the components like the firearm mechanisms and the firing mechanisms, the trigger, the barrels and those sort of things. So when they’re destroyed from here they will not be able to be retrieved.”

But while the Police Department has year after year conducted public destruction of the deadly artillery, they too have been tagged as being part of the problem.

Marion Ali
“The Police Department’s exhibit room has come under criticism before for not properly storing evidence and firearms going missing in the past. When a firearm is seized from off the streets and is discarded or regarded as useless, how can you ensure that it makes it from that point to here – destruction?

A.C.P. Allen Whylie
“Well, there are systems in place in terms of firearms that are found by police officers must be turned in. A record is kept of that and then there is the movement where through the various exhibit registers they eventually end up the exhibit rooms. And those things can be cross-checked by the various commanders who should be doing their routine inspections. We are dealing with human beings and there’s always the possibility that somebody will do something that they should not do, but there should be checks and balances that that should be minimized and revealed through inspections.”

Clement Palacio, Police Press Officer
“Whenever cases like those arise you know that it normally leads to a kind of investigation and of course in an institution where things go wrong sometimes, that happens from time to time, but generally we have all the confidence that the processes that ensure that the guns are properly kept and stored is by and large mostly a successful one.”

But while the Department has its own system in place to control the re-entry of illegal weapons back into society, they have a much harder task in keeping gun smuggling under a tight lid. But it’s a challenge Assistant Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie says tackling head on.

A.C.P. Allen Whylie
“If we are not out there interdicting these persons then there’d be far more weapons out there to be used in the commission of crimes. It is obvious that our borders are porous and serious efforts need to be undertaken not only by the Police Department but by the various law enforcement agencies through the use of greater technology to secure at least the legal border entry points. We also know we have weapons coming in through the sea, through smuggling and we’ve been working at improving that. The Coast Guard has been doing a fantastic job in terms of their forward command and the projection that they have been doing so we’ve been having some success there through our joint effort. But I don’t want the society to despair because we will always be challenged, there will always be people out there who want to break the law and we need to rise to the occasion and step up to the challenge to become more effective.”

Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

The remnants of destroyed weapons will be disposed of at sea at a later date. The last time the Police Department destroyed weapons was May twenty-first of 2008.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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