No practice of allowing unauthorised possession of guns – GDF

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has said that there has never been nor is there now a “culture” within its administration and operations that allows any of its members to be in unlawful possession of its weapons.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the army refuted a statement attributed to attorney Patrice Henry, who in defence of his client, a soldier charged with unlawful possession of an army-issued handgun, told the court that “it is the culture of the arms store to allow him to carry guns.”

The GDF said the statement attributed to Henry, and published in various sections of the media, is “entirely without merit.”

Lance Corporal

Devon Harris
Devon Harris

Devon Harris, 34, a serving member of the GDF for at least 12,  was remanded to prison when he on Tuesday appeared in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court charged with stealing an FN pistol, valued at $35,000 and property of the GDF. Harris pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

The theft occurred between December 27 and January 4. It was also alleged that between December 27 and January 3, at Harris’s Friendship home, he had the pistol in his possession without being the owner of a gun licence.

Prosecutor Bharat Mangru had told the court that a physical check was conducted on the said date at the armoury at Base Camp Stephenson and the firearm was discovered missing. During investigations, Harris was found with the weapon while he was not on duty. According to Mangru, off-duty officers are not authorised to remove firearms. Further, he noted that the accused is not a licensed firearm holder.

In response, Henry had told the court that his client has been working at the arms store at Base Camp Stephenson and would normally have possession of the firearm. He also said that this was known and had never before been a problem as it is the culture of the arms store to allow officers to carry guns. Harris was ordered to appear in the Providence Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The Guyana Defence Force Security Standing Orders set out very clearly the procedures to be followed by its arms stores personnel regarding the issuance of the force’s weapons, the army, however, said. “These Orders expressly permit GDF Officers and Ranks to be in possession of its weapons only in the execution of their military duty,” it added     . Further, it noted that as an arms store personnel, Harris could not have issued to himself any weapon from the GDF’s arm stores as this would be in direct contravention of the Security Standing Orders; nor was he permitted to have a weapon in his possession when not on military duty.

“It is instructive to note that an authority to issue document has to be signed by the Commanding Officer, for a weapon to be issued to any rank,” the GDF said. The force categorically denies that that there has ever been nor is there currently a “culture” within its administration and operations that facilitates, encourages or allows for any of its members to be in an unlawful possession of the force’s weapons or ammunition.

More in Local News

Indrawattie Chandradeo and her two remaining sons and her only daughter in tears at their home yesterday

Two men, teen boy found shot to death at Mibicuri Creek

By Bebi Oosman   The bodies of two men and a teenage boy, bearing gunshot wounds, were discovered yesterday at Mibicuri Creek, Black Bush Polder and police had one person in custody up to late last night facing questions about their shocking deaths.

Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and contractors checking out the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) booth at the procurement symposium for new entrant contractors, which was held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre yesterday. (Minister of Public Infrastructure photo)

Patterson underlines need for transparency in public procurement

Speaking at a symposium for new and existing contractors, Minister of Public Infrastructure (MPI) David Patterson yesterday stressed the need for transparency in the huge public procurement sector and added that distrust in the system has to be dispelled.

default placeholder

Granger says evidence of dereliction needed for Lawrence’s removal

Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence would be removed from office once evidence is presented supporting her dereliction of duty, according to President David Granger, who has lauded her for her work so far.

Dr Madhu Singh (at right) with the team of doctors during the press conference

Dr. Balwant Singh’s Hospital saves heart patient given 48 hours to live

Dr Balwant Singh’s Hospital Inc recently performed its first ever pericardiectomy on a 27-year-old patient who had been given 48 hours to live while hospitalised at another institution.

default placeholder

Private Sector flays City Hall over ‘unlawful’ container fees

While the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has agreed that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) needs to collect revenue, it has lambasted the council for doing so without consultation and in an unlawful manner.

default placeholder

Dutch team urges more proactive approach to flood management

A largely reactive approach to flood situations has worked well under the circumstances but the current flood management system is vulnerable and may collapse dramatically under extreme conditions, according to a report from a Dutch risk reduction team, which has urged a more proactive approach.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.



Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: