Hand over the guns, Troupe appeals

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Councillor for the crime-riddled Granville Division of the St James Municipal Corporation, Michael Troupe (People’s National Party) supports Government’s gun amnesty, while disclosing that he has been spreading the word within the constituency in which the area that he represents falls.

“I want to say it publicly that the new gun law that is in effect, if they can take advantage of the amnesty, do so. Because after the 19th, if they catch anybody with an illegal gun they can tell their friends and family bye-bye for the next 25 years,” Troupe said during Thursday’s sitting of the St James Municipal Corporation’s regular monthly meeting.

The amnesty, which took effect on November 5, is slated to end at midnight on November 19. It is an opportunity for those who are in possession of illegal firearms and or ammunition to avoid significant sentences. Breaches of the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, 2022 will result in penalties ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment.

Speaking to the Jamaica Observer after Thursday’s meeting, Troupe noted that he is also willing to play a part in getting illegal guns off the streets of St James. Pointing out that the parish “has had a rough time in terms of murders”, since the start of the year, the councillor said he believes the amnesty is a step in the right direction.

“I support the Government and, by extension, the minister of national security for coming up with this grand idea because nobody can say they didn’t get a chance to turn them in. They are getting the opportunity to do so without being charged or penalised and I am prepared to help,” said Troupe.

The councillor added, “If anybody has an illegal gun in St James and they call me, I will go for it and bring it to the Government. I will do that as a justice of the peace and a councillor. No name call, just tell me where to pick up the gun and I will do it.”

Troupe told the Sunday
Observer that his appeal also came against the background of a recent interaction with a young man who mistakenly shot himself with an illegal firearm. He said the young man’s leg was amputated above the knee “closer to his groin because the gun was placed at his waist”, before it discharged.

“My call today, based on what I saw, was to say to the young men — and I am not talking specifically to my division — that they have a great opportunity now to hand in their weapons if they have any. If they know anybody with an illegal gun whether friend, neighbour, brother, sister or uncle, just hand it over to the police,” Troupe appealed.

“We know that times are tough, but it is better to have your freedom than to be locked away for 25 years,” the councillor added.

He further noted that having recognised that the young men in his division “do not listen or read the news”, he has attempted to take the message to them.

“I started having some corner meetings in my division because these young men… only listen to music from morning to evening, so they do not know what is happening around them. So as a justice of the peace and a councillor, my job is to go by the corner side and educate them,” he told the Sunday Observer.

He continued, “Nobody will say that they have an illegal gun, but they listened and that is the best thing. I have enough respect within my division, so they will listen because I am not accusing anybody that they have an illegal firearm, I am just spreading the message.”

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