Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn, on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the escalating issue of gun crimes in Guyana.
Despite a 17 percent decrease in serious crimes and a remarkable 60 percent clear-up rate in 2023, illegal firearms and related crimes are on the rise.
Minister Benn, addressing the media at an End-of-Year press conference, made a bold call for individuals in possession of illegal firearms to voluntarily surrender them to the nearest police station. With no amnesty program in place, he urged those with illicit weapons to discreetly discard them either at police stations or in easily accessible locations for law enforcement to retrieve.
“The situation about gun crimes and holding illegal guns, we are not going to do any amnesty,” stated Benn firmly. “If you have an illegal gun, pass by the police station, put it in a bag, and throw it in the yard.”
While acknowledging the 149 illegal firearms seized in 2023, Minister Benn revealed a concerning trend. Investigations suggest that these illegal firearms are not locally sourced but are imported. Despite the gravity of the situation, Benn clarified that the ministry is not considering a gun amnesty program.
The Home Affairs Minister emphasised the government’s strong stance against the possession of illegal firearms, associating them with drug and criminal activities. He announced ongoing efforts with international partners to amend legislation, proposing stricter penalties for those found carrying illegal firearms.