Only two guns have been handed in by the police under the current amnesty announced by the government to get people to rid themselves of illegal firearms.
Public safety Minister, Steadroy Benjamin said the two weapons – a .38 special and a .25 – both hand guns, have been turned into the police by individuals.
Benjamin said he is disappointed with ‘lukewarm’ response to the government’s drive to rid the country of illegal weapons in light of the spike in gun-related crimes over the past several months.
The public safety minister is urging members of the public to take advantage of the amnesty as he intends to implement the amendments to the firearms act shortly. “I am disappointed with the fact that only two guns have been handed in so far under the amnesty because we know that much more illegal firearms are in the possession of members of the society. People may be reluctant to adhere to the amnesty, but when it expires on November 15, we intend to fully enforce the Firearms Amendment Act,” he stated.
The amendment has already been approved by both houses of parliament and it only awaits the signature of the Governor General and publication in the Gazette to make it the law of the land.
Benjamin believes that these final steps will be completed by the time the amnesty
The new law makes it mandatory for the magistrate to sentence anyone convicted of a gun-related crime to serve up to two years in prison. The law removes the discretion of the magistrate with regards to sentencing.