BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday April 3, 2019 – People with illegal firearms, parts of firearms or ammunition will have from April 7 until midnight on April 13, to turn in the weapons at a police station without having to worry about facing prosecution.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall announced the one-week gun amnesty yesterday, during discussion on the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the House of Assembly.
“After the legislation is passed and it becomes law later this week, a gun amnesty will be offered to Barbadians,” he said, stressing that unlike previous gun amnesties, which ran for as long as six months in some cases, this one would be for one week only.
“If you have an unlicensed firearm, it cannot take six months to figure out that you want to hand it in…. At midnight on Saturday, April 13, the gloves are off.”
The last amnesty was in 1998, but the minister said people had been asking for another one and after consultation with police, a decision was taken to offer another one.
Marshall said that at the end of the amnesty, he would report to the country “on what and how many guns were recovered”.
The Attorney General also warned the criminal elements in society that he would not allow them to hold the country ransom.
“I am warning the criminal element of Barbados do not test our resolve. Our mission is to get the guns off the streets. This is not something that we can be flippant about. A Government is elected for the purpose of protecting citizens not to coddle criminals,” he said, adding that the Barbados Labour Party administration would not allow a handful of “hoodlums” to “mash up our country”.
Marshall acknowledged that there were some people in society who believed gun amnesties were not the solution to the problem, as the guns wanted did not come in during an amnesty.
But he explained that the mission is simply to get illegal firearms off the street.
“Somebody who spends $10 000 on an AK47 is not likely to show up at a police station and say ‘I am washing my hands of this’… But they could never say I didn’t have a chance to,” the Attorney General said.
Marshall had told Parliament that 12 of the 20 murders committed in Barbados so far this year involved the use of guns.