Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Peter Bunting, is raising concerns about possible corruption at the Firearm Licensing Authority, FLA.
This comes amid reports that the Board of the FLA last year granted firearm licenses to applicants who were previously denied by the former Board.
It’s reported that some of those applicants include people involved in lottery scamming, murders and gun-running.
In an interview with our news centre last night, Mr. Bunting said he’d been told of similar developments at the FLA.
It’s being reported that during investigations by the Jamaica Constabulary, adverse traces were found against the questionable applicants who were initially denied gun licences.
It’s further reported that the FLA Board last year revisited the applications and granted approval without ‘any appeal or new information’.
Mr. Bunting says he’s not surprised by the media reports which have emerged.
He says he’d received similar reports.
He says he hadn’t gone public with the information he was given but had passed it on to the ‘appropriate’ authorities. He’s criticizing the FLA, claiming it’s ‘packed’ with cronies of the governing Jamaica Labour Party.
It’s reported that some angry members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force have written the Police High Command, expressing concern about the matter.
Meanwhile, The Firearm Licensing Authority in a statement late last night says it has taken note of certain pronouncements in the public media.
It says whenever it receives an application several background checks are carried out on the applicant and certain security clearance must be received.
It says as part of the due diligence process, the Police are always contacted and highly confidential information is received from time to time.
The FLA says this information is highly sensitive and is not shared with the public.
The FLA added that it’s not their policy to speak publicly on individual applicant/holders case, based on the need to protect the privacy and security of the individual.
However, it says it welcomes information from the public on firearm holders, to help in the continuous review process of the holders’ fit and proper criteria.
It says it continuously review, investigate and gather intelligence from the police and the public at large, in order to guide the decision-making process and so a license Firearm Holder is constantly under review.
The FLA says it had embarked on an enforcement drive to ensure they can account for all firearms and their holders.
It says the drive has resulted in firearms that were not previously registered on our database or ballistically tested, now being captured.
The statement did not specifically address the allegations now in the public domain.