Sunday 9 August, 2020

MP talks gun amnesty, explains murder-weapons not excused

If ballistics determine that the firearm was used in a murder, there will be further investigations into the matter.

Clarifying this point to Loop News recently, was Agriculture Minister Indar Weir.

Speaking to Loop after attending a candlelight vigil at Rices Methodist Church in Rices within his constituency of St. Philip South, he said:

"With gun amnesty, unless it was used for murder, with a gun amnesty that is what it is, you get a chance to turn in your guns. 

"But if it was used for murder, that is a different thing."

Asked what would be his advice to members in the St. Philip South constituency who may be in possession of a firearm, the Member of Parliament said:

"Turn them in! Get rid of them and you go free."

He stressed that the gun amnesty allows persons to go "without having recourse". 

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Asked if he has been plagued by persons with questions about the gun amnesty and what it means, he answered in the negative but shared, "I have had people asking me about crime."

To which he said, that he has been assuring persons that this Barbados Labour Party-government has not been resting on its laurels as homicides climb and reach a high of 20 within the first three months of 2019.

He said, "We've made constitutional changes to prohibit bail for serious gun crimes or for murder up to have them serve up to 24 months before bail can be considered." The changes were made in Parliament last Tuesday, April 2. Next they were to be signed into law and once signed by the Governor General, he assured, "it will take effect." He was also pleased that Senate "unanimously approved" the changes to the Bail Act as well in the Upper House.

Weir said that with the constitution changed to reflect that these accused persons would not get bail under 24 months on remand, that the government is giving the public what they want.

He added, "this is what not just my constituents, this is what the ppl of Barbados have been asking for, that people who are on murder charges shouldn't be granted bail."

On the flip side, so as to not impinge on the rights of accused at the same time, he further stressed, "We've taken into consideration what we can do, and we're hoping that the system can move fast enough so that you can get a fast enough trial that you won't have to be waiting for 24 months. But the reality is if you have to wait for more than 24 months for a trial then that's where the law kicks in."

The gun amnesty commenced Sunday, April 7, and will run until midnight on Saturday, April 13, according to the Attorney General Dale Marshall.

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