20 May 2009

Contempt

A police officer whose application for a Firearm User's Licence (FUL) was turned down by the Commissioner of Police is now suing the State because there is no Firearm Appeal Board (FAB) in place for him to challenge the decision.

A similar writ was filed in 2004 by former communications specialist attached to the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Oscar Ramoutar. The following year in the San Fernando High Court, Justice Amrika Tiwary ruled that Prime Minister Patrick Manning and his Cabinet were guilty of maladministration by failing to appoint the board.

The board's purpose is to hear and determine appeals from the decision of the Commissioner of Police, who is authorised to grant, deny or revoke firearm licences, certificates or permits.

The judge ordered Manning to advise President George Maxwell Richards to appoint a new board in accordance with Section 22 (B) of the Firearms Act within 28 days as there had been, then, no board for 22 months. A board was appointed but its term expired in March 2008.

So, in 2005 Justice Tiwary ordered Manning to set into motion the appointment of the board, and he is yet to do so. Now, isn’t this essentially contempt of court? Can he get away with this because he is the Prime Minister?

As I keep saying all along, only in Monkey Island.

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