Gun amnesty takes effect from today
March 1, 2024
Gun amnesty takes effect from today

The Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), is granting holders of illegal firearms and ammunition a 92-day grace period as of today, to surrender these items without being prosecuted.

Over the past two years, crimes involving the use of illegally possessed firearms and ammunition have been plaguing St Vincent and the Grenadines with two homicide records being broken in consecutive years.

Law enforcement and officers of the court have not been so gracious when sentencing perpetrators for offences of this nature.

One notable example is first time offender Ozar Findlay, a Layou resident who was sentenced to prison for one year after he was charged for being in possession of one live round of ammunition in August, 2023.

Magistrate, John Ballah who presided over the matter said “As it stands, we are currently in a situation where St Vincent has a battle with firearms, unlicensed firearms that is, and unlicensed ammunition. The sentencing guidelines should reflect that said abhorrence to those offences”.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Trevor Bailey has reiterated that as of today,March 1,2024, persons who are in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition have been granted 92 days to surrender these items “without any repercussion.”

“It gives every citizen of St Vincent and the Grenadines the opportunity to hand in without any repercussions, any illegal firearm, ammunition or any component part of that firearm… whatever component part that makes up a firearm. If you have that, we ask that you surrender that as well for the next 92 days,” ACP Bailey on the Police On-the-beat programme on NBC Radio where he was a member of a panel discussing the National Firearms (Gun) Amnesty which takes effect from today, March 1, and will conclude on Friday May, 31, 2024.

“It is a no question asked amnesty… that is, the police or any of the agents who are collecting a firearm or any persons who wishes to hand in that firearm will not ask for any personal information. We are not interested in your name or your address. We are not interested in how long you have had the firearm or you came about the firearm, how much you might have paid for the firearm, who you got it from, no, we are not asking for any information,” ACP Bailey emphasised.

As part of its Community Outreach Programme for 2024 and to sensitize the public about the National Firearms Amnesty – the Police in collaboration with the National Commission on Crime Prevention (NCCP) and other partners, have been conducting walkabouts and Town hall meetings. Such activities have earlier been held in Chauteaubelair, Georgetown, Edinboro, and Choppins with the final one at Ottley Hall yesterday, February 29, 2024.

The Police said in a statement on their social media platform that it solicits the cooperation of all concerned to help remove illegal firearms from the hands of criminals and from ‘off the streets’ of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.