New FLA board Monday

Security increased around CEO after death threats

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 25, 2017



The Cabinet is to approve a new board of directors for the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) when it meets on Monday.

The Jamaica Observer confirmed the decision yesterday following a public acknowledgement by National Security Minister Robert Montague that the members of the new board would be named “very soon”.

There has been growing concern about the fact that the FLA, which has been mired in controversy over the past month, has been operating without a board since the previous board resigned on August 2, following public revelations about corrupt practices and political influence in the issuing of firearm licences since 2012.

Approval is required from a majority of the five board members for firearm licences to be issued by the agency.

It was also disclosed yesterday that increased security has been provided for FLA Chief Executive Officer Shane Dalling following what is understood to be threats made against his life.

On Tuesday, two senior managers at the authority were dismissed with immediate effect amidst an investigation being carried out by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA) into the operations at the FLA

Dalling yesterday refused to go into details about either the dismissals or the threats, but admitted that many of the practices that he has detected at the FLA were not what he expected when he joined the staff two months ago.

He admitted, however, that he had discussions with the police high command on Wednesday night, and that he expected them to address his security issues yesterday.

Former minister of national security and Opposition spokesman Peter Bunting had called for the resignation of the board and that of Dalling. He accused the authority of approving gun licences for people of questionable character and pointed his finger at the board appointed since the change of Government in February 2016. However, investigations so far have identified that the corrupt practices extend, at least, as far back as Bunting's administration of the ministry and the FLA.

The previous board, which included two former political candidates for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party, said in their letters of resignation that they were stepping down to protect their integrity and that of the embattled FLA, which was established to handle the granting and renewing of firearm licences after corrupt practices were detected in the issuing of the licences by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Dalling has insisted that, despite the threats and calls for his resignation, he will continue to work with MOCA in rooting out corruption among the staff of the institution.

The agency was established on March 1, 2006 in line with the implementation of the provisions of the Firearm Amendment Act (2005), as a statutory organisation within the Ministry of National Security to replace the role of the JCF and increase professionalism and transparency in the granting of the firearm licences.

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