Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says the government is not considering any amnesty for persons who have illegal guns in their possession but it wants to step up enforcement efforts.
Jagdeo, at a press conference on Thursday, said the previous APNU+AFC coalition government implemented a gun amnesty while in office. According to him, that venture wasn’t successful.
He believes that persons who possess guns illegally, particularly those weapons used in crimes, would not surrender those firearms even if there was an amnesty.
“If you don’t have a permit for a weapon, then there should be strong enforcement and if you are found with it there should be strong enforcement.
“This amnesty business has not been considered in the government,” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo also said the government is focused on introducing more technology in crime-fighting efforts so that there are more sophisticated tools in place to fight crime.
On Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn said the Guyana Police Force (GPF) recorded a 17 percent decrease in serious crimes with a more than 60 percent clear up rate for the year 2023.
But despite this, incidents of murders and gun-related crimes have been on the increase. In fact, for 2023, a total of 149 illegal firearms were taken off the streets, placing the issue among one of the challenges for last year.
Benn said investigations found that the illegal firearms do not originate from Guyana but are, in fact, imported.
But despite the situation, Benn said the ministry will not be conducting a gun amnesty programme. According to Benn the authorities are “thoroughly” against the possession of illegal firearms which is said to be linked to drug and criminal activities.