Montague Dismisses Media Report of Improper Approval of Firearm License Appeal

Former Minister of National Security, Robert Montague, is dismissing a report that he acted improperly in granting a firearm license to an individual following an appeal.

A report by Television Jamaica, TVJ, last night, claimed that while Minister Montague was in charge of the National Security portfolio, he granted a firearm license after an appeal to the Firearm Licensing Authority, FLA, by a man of allegedly questionable character.

During a media conference today, Minister Montague, who’s the current Transport and Mining Minister, defended his actions, saying it was done in the interest of national security.

According to Minister Montague, TVJ, aired a story last night which says he acted improperly in the granting of a firearm license to an individual while he was National Security Minister. But today, he rejected that assertion.

He says the Firearm Act gives the Minister of National Security the final say in granting licenses upon review.

But to add an extra layer of accountability, he says he impaneled a six-member board to help to review the more than 350 review cases which were pending when he became Minister.

He says 209 cases were reviewed during his tenure as National security minister. He says of those cases 29 were unanimously recommended to have licenses granted – including the man in question.

Minister Montague says the person in question became a national security asset after he provided information that led to rooting out corrupt practices at the FLA.

Minister Montague says following an access to information request, TVJ was asked not to report the story because the person at the centre of the story, was a national security asset.

Minister Montague says the license of the person has since been revoked. He says the person has also voluntarily left the country.

Meanwhile, Minister Montague says he’ll make a formal complaint to the parent company of TVJ, the RJR/Gleaner News Group, against Group Head of Broadcast News Mr. Milton Walker.

Minister Montague says the actions of Mr. Walker represents ‘gross journalistic irresponsibility’.

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