Kingston, Jamaica, August 20, 2017: Peter Bunting Says During Tenure Board Followed Due Process and Kept Diligent Records of Decisions and Actions.
The Opposition Spokesman on National Security and who was the Minister of National Security in the last PNP administration, Mr. Peter Bunting categorically rejects any suggestion that the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) under his watch granted firearm licenses in a manner not consistent with the most transparent and rigorous standards.
“I am confident that the actions of the FLA, under the Chairmanship of Robert Gregory, and the Firearms Licensing Review Board, under the Chairmanship of Retired Director of Public Prosecution Kent Pantry, followed due process and kept diligent records of their actions and decisions,” Bunting asserted.
The records should be available to investigators for review. Mr. Bunting says he, “rejects attempts by anyone to besmirch the integrity and reputation of these public servants who served the FLA under my watch, by suggesting that approvals were not in keeping with the rigors required by due process or by law.”
In the haste to concoct evidence against the PNP appointed FLA, the “source” didn’t even realize that one of the allegations regarding a reversal of a decision for an applicant, supposedly convicted for illegal possession of firearm and money laundering, took place on March 6, 2012. They clearly didn’t realize that although the PNP had been in office, it was the JLP appointed Errol Strong led FLA that was still in place on that date.
Furthermore, the Opposition Spokesman said he regards the entire episode and the allegations of impropriety contained in the Gleaner article as a very ‘transparent’ attempt by the JLP to deflect attention away from its sordid politicization and corruption of the FLA, which even now is still headed by one of its political activists – Shane Dalling. It is under Dalling’s watch that these politically motivated leaks are taking place, and it underscores why confidence cannot return to the FLA under his leadership.
The JLP has been in office for 18 months, but only since their FLA board has had to resign in disgrace that these accusations about the previous board are surfacing. The timing of this so-called anonymous whistleblower source coming forward is quite curious. Investigations are underway by MOCA and the OCG. Rather than awaiting the outcome of the official investigation, attempts are being made by the JLP and its surrogates to create moral equivalencies to muddy the water.
It is important to remind the Gleaner newspaper that fairness and natural justice demands that past FLA members, whose reputations are being tarnished, be given access to the files in question to be able to first identify the case, as well as defend and justify their decisions.
The matter of the probity and transparency of the process by which firearm licenses are granted and to whom such licenses are given bears directly on Jamaica’s national security.
“This was of paramount importance to me while I held the portfolio responsibility and I appointed, with the approval of Cabinet, persons whom I believed to be of high integrity to oversee the process,” Mr. Bunting re-affirmed. This is the very thing that has been jettisoned by the current administration and we believe that all of Jamaica has a vested interest in ensuring that those responsible are ferreted out and be held accountable as the process made right.