The administration of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is deeply concerned that legitimately obtained ammunition could end up in the hands of criminal elements.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the Force is also worried about the management of lawfully acquired ammunition.
“We are always concerned about ammunition and the management of ammunition. It is always a concern for the Force. It is always a concern for the Force if ammunition that is lawfully or legally obtained, gets into the wrong hands,” Boyce said.
Speaking against the backdrop of three high profile marksmen who faced the law courts over the past two years for illegal possession of large quantities of ammunition, the Deputy Commissioner however said police had no proof to suggest that the ammunition found in the possession of one individual and allegedly found on two others could have likely ended up in the possession of criminal elements.
“There is no evidence in the public domain to suggest that the ammunition they [two allegedly] had would go to somebody else,” he insisted.
Boyce said his concerns also related to situations where someone broke into another person’s home and stole legally obtained ammunition or instances where persons lost legally obtained ammunition.
Over the past few years three members of the Barbados Rifle and Pistol Federation Inc. – retired Superintendent of Police John Mark Annel, retired Station Sergeant Ashford Athelbert Jones and Richard Delisle Arthur, former Barbados Labour Party St Lucy candidate and brother of ex-Prime Minister Owen Arthur – have been arrested and charged for offences related to possession of large amounts of ammunition. Arthur was convicted on his indictment while the cases against Annel and Jones are still pending.
In light of these prominent members of the Barbados Rifle and Pistol Federation being hauled before the law courts, the sports club president Antonio Boo Rudder has sought to defend his organization’s integrity.
Rudder was adamant that the federation has put in place all the best practices necessary to discourage members from running afoul of the law.
However, he told Barbados TODAY there was only so much the Federation could do.
“We got all types of systems in place, but at the end of the day, you are dealing with human beings,” Rudder said.
“Our position is that we will always err on the side of the law. We [are] here to respect the law and that is what it is,” he declared.
The head of the sports shooting entity also said it was “particularly instructive” to note who some of individuals are that had been charged with illegal possession of ammunition. “When you are dealing with human beings anything can happen,” Rudder told Barbados TODAY.
“Invariably, it is not a fellow off the block,” he added.
Annell was charged on September 20, 2017 with six offences under the Firearms Act, inclusive of possession of 100 rounds of ammunition without a valid licence. The former lawman was also accused of committing a similar offence on August 3, 2017, this time with 150 rounds of ammo. Jones was granted $90,000 bail last week Friday for illegal possession of over 100 rounds of .40mm ammunition.
Arthur was convicted in May this year for possessing 102 rounds of ammunition without a valid licence to do so.