Rifle Assn differs
The Jamaica Rifle Association (JRA) has denied a claim by a member that the ammunition reloading machine in its possession was operated by children and has insisted that the organisation observes the highest safety standards.
The JRA was responding to the lead story in last week's Sunday Observer which reported a member of the association saying that the machine was left unattended for several years at the JRA's Mountain View Avenue base.
The member, Ian Causwell, had written to Dr Kenroy Wedderburn, CEO of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), expressing unease with the housing of the machine at the JRA and asking that the matter being investigated.
"This machine was being operated in an unsecured area, even by schoolchildren, with no obvious sign of accountability," Causwell wrote in his letter, adding that this was being done with the knowledge of senior officials of the JRA and members of the managing committee.
However, in its news release issued early last week, the JRA management committee said the claim was not true.
"The JRA has in its possession a manual reloading press from the early 1970s when the association was allowed to reload ammunition. This machine was not in operation since the late 1970s, until 2011 when the Firearm Licensing Authority granted permission to retrofit a small quantity of specialised ammunition used in competitive shooting. The calibre of ammunition retrofitted is uncommon to the Jamaican landscape," the management committee said.
"The reloading press was never operated by children, albeit children 12 years and older are eligible for membership at the JRA. The JRA has always insisted on safety first in its operations, and always ensures that the highest safety standards are adhered to," the committee added.
The association said it has installed an operational and unprecedented level of security and stringent accountability processes for ammunition, adding that it operates completely within the ambit of the law and "strives to be transparent in its operations and co-operates fully with all the relevant authorities".