Saturday 4 April, 2020

Border agencies must help keep guns out

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and acting Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith at Thursday's press conference on crime. (PHOTO: Richard Grimes)

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and acting Commissioner of Police, Tyrone Griffith at Thursday's press conference on crime. (PHOTO: Richard Grimes)

Keeping corruption out of border security agencies will go a long way in preventing illegal guns from entering the country.

This was the suggestion of Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, as he addressed a press conference Thursday evening on the country’s crime situation.

Brathwaite said it was high time that personnel in border security agencies be made to undergo rigorous “integrity testing” along the lines of polygraph (lie detector) tests.

“All agencies who have border security responsibility, to my mind, we have to move as a country to put them through the same rigorous testing that the Commissioner [of Police] has done and continues to do with his officers, in particular those in sensitive positions,” he contended.

“People get real sensitive and believe we are saying the whole organisation is crooked or dishonest… but without doubt, there are some undesirables in almost every organisation and if you have the tools at your disposal to ensure that you’re getting the best of the best, then that’s what you should do.”

His comments came as Commissioner Griffith highlighted that there is much still to be done in stopping the illegal importation of guns.

Repeating a previously made statement, Griffith said that “intelligence would suggest that quite a bit of the firearms are actually coming through legitimate ports” and that the RBPF is seeking the collaboration of other law enforcement agencies to stem this:

“We are seeking to have dialogue with our other law enforcement partners at our points of entry to ensure that we can reduce the number of firearms that are entering our ports.”

He later added, “It’s not on every occasion that it [importing illegal guns] is something that is being supported by employees at the Port. It may be a question of even understanding what a firearm looks like if it’s in parts, so there’s a need for that joint training and then serious cooperation.”

Disclosing that 44 guns have been seized so far for the year, he added there has been a commitment from some law enforcement partners to share information and collaborate to get more firearms off the street and stop them from entering the country.

When asked why cooperation between state agencies must be requested and not mandated, the AG indicated that not all border security agencies fall under the same authority.

The Attorney General also cited “porous borders” as a challenge to stemming the inflow of illegal guns, stating that not every yacht and fishing boat is checked.

“We don’t check everyone who leaves and everyone who comes back in [on yachts]. We don’t check every fishing boat and every one that comes back in… There are avenues for these illegal guns to be coming into the country."

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