Police Force proposes ‘Gun Court’ to tackle backlog of cases

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The Guyana Police Force has proposed a new branch of the judiciary – a Gun Court – which will address the current backlog of gun-related cases and combat gun violence in Guyana.

Deputy Police Commissioner for Law Enforcement who also serves as the Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum revealed on Monday that the proposal was recently made to the National Security Council for the establishment of a Gun Court.

It was revealed that the Police Legal Advisor Sonia Joseph and Commissioner of Police (ag) Nigel Hoppie along with the Crime Chief recently met with the Commissioner of the Jamaican Constabulary Force and his team about the impact of the Gun Court in Jamaica.

According to the Crime Chief, the officials at the meeting were happy to learn that the Jamaican authorities were able to decrease gun-related murders and other gun-related crimes on the island as a result of this ‘Gun Court.’

“Hopefully our Attorney General would be able to have discussions with members of the judiciary to see how we can establish a Gun Court in order to reduce the backlog of some of these matters which we have pending for some time,” Blanhum told the press during the announcement of the force’s security plan for Christmas.

Blanhum revealed that some 272 people have been killed by a firearm within 10 years and this he said is a matter of grave concern for the police force. For 2021 thus far, the police have recorded 20 gun-related murders as compared to 27 in 2020.

Armed robberies are more prevalent in Region 4A (Agricola, East Bank Demerara – Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara); statistics show a 45 per cent gun robberies when compared to the other police divisions.

The analysis further shows that 153 armed robberies occurred on the street, 100 at a person’s home, 70 at business places, 10 in public transportation, and two at schools.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali recently said that he is currently in talks with Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, on amending laws to implement the highest penalty for persons caught with illegal weapons.

Between January 01, 2021, and November 08, 2021, 65 illegal firearms were seized as compared to 136 last year.

“Our analysis suggests that 45 per cent of the firearms originated from Brazil, followed by the USA,” Blanhum said.

The data reveals that 32 illegal firearms originated from Brazil, 24 from the US, six from Turkey, and four from Austria.

Blanhum stated that there needs to be a more robust presence at the borders to prevent the smuggling of these firearms.

Meanwhile, the Crime Chief says he is concerned that young people, aged 17, 18, and 19 are being charged for committing serious crimes such as murder. A total of 68 people s under the age of 25 have been charged for the year thus far.

“This is something that we need to address urgently, we cannot continue to lock up persons hoping that this is going to be a solution to solve crime or to prevent crime,” Blanhum said.

To this end, he is pleading with family members to ensure that they work together to improve family life. He noted that many of these young criminals are being “influenced by social media and hardened criminals.”

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