New Democratic Party politician, Ben Exeter. (IWN file photo)

The relevant authorities, on Dec. 30, rescinded opposition politician Ben Exeter’s permit to carry a firearm, one day after he was arrested in Kingstown and charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Kay Bacchus-Browne, one of the New Democratic Party politician’s lawyers, told a press conference on Monday that the rescinding of the licence was done in “a very undemocratic, autocratic way.

“It was just taken away from him,” she said, adding that Exeter intends to appeal the decision.

Israel Bruce, another of Exeter’s lawyers, speaking at the press conference, said:

“The most you can make of that is whether or not that adds to our claim that he is personally being pursued.

“Why is it that somebody who has the requisite licence to carry the firearm, when he was found to have it on him, indicated that I do have the requisite licence to have this on me, they ask that it be handed over, he handed it over. The evening, when we were addressing the matter, we were told that tomorrow (the following day) that he would be reissued with the gun. And, following court appearance on that day (Dec. 30), he was presented with relevant documents to sign and was advised that his licence is being revoked.”

Bacchus said that Exeter’s legal team calls the decision to rescind the gun “a flagrant abuse of authority”.

Bruce added: “And what I want to add is not just his licence [was] revoked, but that Carlos James …, as far as we know, continues to hold his licence, if he has one.”

Exeter was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer on Dec. 29 in Kingstown.

At the time of the arrest, he was in the street outside Parliament, where persons had gathering for the opening of the 10th Parliament.

He had his firearm on him at the time, but was not charged in connection with the weapon.

He was charged last Thursday with an offence under the Public Order Act, one week after Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves suggested at a press conference that he could be charged with contravening that legislation.

Exeter’s legal team has contrasted the response of the state to their response to an incident in which ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) politician Carlos James discharged a firearm in Petit Bordel last November.

“His (James’) has not been revoked and I want those persons who are listening and those who read to make what you make of it, if this is not persecution of Ben Exeter and if there is not an objective behind it,” Bruce said.

“It cannot simply be that the authorities want Ben Exeter not to have a licensed firearm. It cannot be that they simply want to prove that they can make out a case for those sets of offences that they would have thrown at him. It has to be that there is a greater objective and that greater objective is to put a stumbling block in his way,” Bruce said.

Exeter contested Central Leeward in the Dec. 9 general election for the NDP. Electoral official say that the ULP’s Sir Louis Straker won the seat.

The NDP is challenging the results in court.

“When we speak the way we speak, the name and names of Margaret London and Carlos James must come back to your minds,” Bruce said.

“You would recall that when Margaret London was to contest general elections [in 2010], the issue as to her criminal record became the operational axis, and in 2015, you know that there was a spat between [MP for North Leeward] Roland Matthews and Carlos James, as to whether Carlos James was considered qualified to contest because of a criminal activity for which he was charged prior,” Bruce said.

“So, is the objective to make sure that Ben Exeter has a criminal record, so that whether, upon the prayerful considerations of those who have aspired to pray, so that whenever their considerations are being made, that Ben Exeter would be caught in the cold and cannot have his name placed on the ballot? We say that that is part of the overall act in the scheme of things.”

Asked if he now feels unsafe because he doesn’t have a firearm, Exeter told journalists:

“I applied for the firearm licence to protect myself and my property. Now, I have no protection. My house was burglarised four times in the last year and a half prior to receiving my licence.”

Exeter said he had the licence since May 2015.

9 replies on “Exeter’s gun licence revoked ”

  1. Very strange
    The man had a license.
    The man did not discharge the weapon.
    The man did not draw (brandish) the weapon.

    The assault charge is debatable since he was not breaking the law and was nevertheless attacked by a police officer. Even if the police grab you from behind and you stiffen with shock, that too is considered assault.
    Sounds like Ralph is scared of Mr. Exeter.

  2. …but wait nah, a man is going to courts on gun related charges, so why the F#$k would the authority allow him to still have a gun licence? Its like someone who cause a serious car accident telling the authority they should still retain their drivers license …no,clear your name in the courts first and then you can make a case of getting back your licence, not before.

    In my opinion, its not a right to have a gun…you not in the US…ITS A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE A GUN IN THESE PARTS AND THE AUTHORITY SHOULD HAVE THE POWER TO REVOKE YOUR GUN LICENCE ANYTIME.

    Carlos James should have been investigated at the minimum, with his gun licence suspended until the investigation is over. And the Police should have issued a statement on this incident but hey this is vincyland…police dotishness is the order of the day.

    1. teacherfang, you never cease to amaze me with your judgment of matters there is something wrong with your judgement.

      The correct procedure was for the police to keep the gun and suspend the license until after the court hearing on the matter when at that time the judge will make the order if the license was cancelled or not.

      Of course a person in a serious accident also keeps his license until after a court case.

      According to your reckoning people are guilty before proven to be guilty by a court.

      Ben would have been thoroughly investigated before it was decided to issue him a license. He would not have been licensed unless he proved to be an upstanding citizen.

      According to you Carlos James who discharged his firearm at a public meeting should only have been investigated and his license suspended. That is very very different to what you suggest for Ben Exeter.

      teacherfang you have put forward a flow of crap for many years now, what on earth is wrong with your head?

  3. Mr. Exeter had his gun license revoked because he took his license firearm at a public gathering, he did not discharge his firearm at this protest, neither did he harm anyone during this process. However, he was chastised by this malevolent ULP administration, This is clearly an abuse of power . How many constitutions does our country have? Does the laws applies to half of the country and exclude others? No one is above the law in any country regardless of who you are. A political candidate: namely Mr. Carlos James, and others candidates, the prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Kids, Friends, Cousins, Brothers, and other acquaintances of his party. You violate the law of the country you must be punished.

  4. Well I think this turned out pretty good for Exeter, hope this is the end.
    I don’t see any other reasons to beat up on him anymore, except for the assault charge concerning Mr De Freitas. I think a reasonable fine is more that appropriate…my opinion.
    Ben Exeter brought this upon himself, through his behaviour towards the police people. Look at the video! Look at the video! Is the camera telling lies?
    On the other hand without any bias, Carlos James matter is completely different. Those who can’t relate are just “politricking” (my word!)

    1. Vinciman, care to elaborate on your Carlos James point? How is Carlos James matter,”completely different” from Ben Exeter case, given that in both cases, the possession of a firearm is the basic, central, critical point of the issue?

      1. I’m glad you asked TeacherFang.
        In the first place Carlos was attending a social gathering (party) not a public meeting with friends of the ULP, when an uninvited or better yet unappreciated guest arrived and tried to disrupt the gathering and was rebuffed. He then went across the street, and with friends began showering the gathering with bottles and stones, hurting a few individuals in the process.
        Carlos, after notifying the police who took some time to arrive according to those present, drew his licensed firearm and fired warning shots into the air, which eventually quelled the fracas. The police then arrived, and spoke to a few persons including Carlos James, and saw that everything was in order and no laws were broken. Afterwards they sought out and arrested the individual then left the scene.
        In the second place the firing of the pistol comes under the heading of “for the purpose of self defense”. And that’s the crux of the matter. Completely different from Exeter’s ordeal.

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