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The People’s National Party is calling on the Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, to immediately inform the country on the present state of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), including its continued operation without a Board of Directors, the tenure of its Chief Executive Officer, as well as the status of firearm license applications which he suspended on August 2, 2017 for seven [7] days, which has long expired.

Last Friday, amidst investigation and raids by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) of the FLA’s headquarters on Old Hope Road,  the entire operations of the Authority was suspended and members of the public were severely inconvenienced , as no business could be done for the entire day.  This unannounced raid by MOCA is clearly an escalation of the crisis, which requires clean and steady hands with proper focus to carry out the mandate of this vital national institution.

The Opposition said it is, therefore, concerned that despite its repeated calls for the removal of JLP activist and former Councillor, Shane Dalling as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, he remains in this role.   There are several questions relating to his continued presence during the ongoing investigations and raids of the FLA premises. Mr. Dalling should be immediately removed from the leadership of the agency as his presence is offensive to the investigation and MOCA’s ability to proceed without interference.

The Opposition is extremely concerned that no new board has been named by the Minister to direct the affairs of the Authority, fueling speculation that Mr. Dalling has morphed himself into a one-man board and CEO, directly reporting to the Minister in contravention of the Act.

Needless to mention, it was under the previous board’s and  Mr. Dalling’s watch that the procedures governing the issuance of firearm permits were clearly breached, allowing those with ties to criminality to obtain licenses, threatening the security of every Jamaican, as those firearms remain at large.

The FLA is an important national institution which seems to have escaped the government’s focus.   The government’s handling of the FLA scandal lacks openness and transparency, and is compromising the integrity of Authority to protect political activists.