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Georgetown Police Station

The guns and ammunition were stolen from the Georgetown Police Station. (Internet photo)

This is one of the questions that Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday, raised at a press conference, on Tuesday, as he demanded answers about the disappearance of guns and ammunition from the Georgetown Police Station

Friday’s questions came in a press conference that was taking place at the same time that Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Ralph Gonsalves, in a separate media briefing, offered very little comment about the missing weapons and ammunition.

The opposition leader noted the June 4 police announcement that guns and ammunition are missing from the police station.

He noted that while the police did not say how many guns were missing, there is information in the public that the number may be four or five.

The police also did not say what type of firearms is missing.

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“But there is speculation and information in the public. I don’t want to repeat them,” Friday said.

He also noted that while the police have been silent on the amount of ammunition that is missing, information in the public suggests it could be as much as 1,000 rounds.

“They can clarify that as well,” Friday said.

“What kind of ammunition was taken? We still do not know because the police have not told us,” he said.

M4 Rifle
An internet photo of an M4 rifle and ammunition.

The opposition leader said that the announcement of the missing guns and ammunition could not have come at a worse time.

“It came at a time when there were reports in the media and talk on people’s lips of recent shootings resulting in death –as in the case of former national footballer Dwaine Sandy — or serious injury –as in the case of Cornelius John.”

The opposition leader said there was, therefore, understandable heightened public concern over the announcement.

“That concern remains. But instead of seeking to allay the fears and the feelings of the people by providing information, the police have, since the initial announcement, remained silent. 

“No more information for the public even though speculation is rife. It can’t be healthy to have speculation.  But when in a vacuum for information, people try to fill it in.” 

The opposition leader pointed out that officers from the Georgetown Police Station have been transferred elsewhere, and vice versa.

“Is this response by the Commissioner of Police a case of too little too late?  We need answers!  The people of this country need answers.

“How many guns are missing?  How much ammunition is missing? When did the police find out they were missing? Did they go missing all at once or did it happen over a period of time?

“Imagine, if this was happening over a period of time, you have to ask the question, who was minding the store? Who was looking after these very important weapons that need to be highly secure?

“Did someone go into the police station and take the guns and ammunition?  If so, how were they able to do this without being detected?”

Godwin Friday
A screenshot of Opposition Leader Godwin Friday at Tuesday’s press conference.

The opposition leader said Georgetown Police Station is a large modern building and a police station is supposed to be a secure place.

“Therefore, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for an intruder to enter and leave with those weapons and not be detected in the process.  But apparently, this may have been done.  So the sooner we get answers the better.”

Police have said that the Major Crime Unit has been ordered to investigate the disappearance of guns and ammunition.

“And if the police cannot investigate it properly, then they must get someone to do it,” Friday said.

“Public confidence in our police service is paramount for the peace and wellbeing of our citizens. And when that is shaken, action must be taken vigorously to deal with the problems that create that sense of doubt and fear among the members of the public and to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.”

Friday said he does not see this happening in the present case.

“It is simply not good enough, and the people of this country demand more and they are entitled to more, to better service from the commissioner of police, from the police service, and from the minister of national security.

“Why is there no more information available to the public on such an important matter? There is gun violence all over the place in St. Vincent, it seems. There is genuine fear among our people. Where did these weapons end up? Where did the ammunition go? Do they pose a danger to the public? Come on, commissioner, you have to provide answers to the public of this country,” Friday said.  

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