Local law enforcement officers are forced to review their security arrangements at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) following an incident with a firearm brought into the country by a U.S national.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the husband of an American student at St. George’s University (SGU) was able to leave the airport with a gun not licensed for use in Grenada since the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) did not process it.
A high-level source told this newspaper that the U.S citizen declared the gun to a Custom Officer on duty at the airport who handed it back to him with instructions to take it to Police head office on Fort George for processing.
“This was wrong. The person in Customs should have held onto the gun and take it to Police headquarters themselves instead of giving it back to the man”, he said.
“Anything could have happened with this gun once the man left the airport and go wherever he wanted to go with it. That should never have been allowed to happen at all”, he added.
The source pointed out that the other law enforcement arms at the airport including Special Branch, Drug Squad and Immigration were not aware of the issue involving the gun.
He said there is a procedure in place for persons bringing firearms into the country but on this occasion it was definitely breached.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the U.S citizen had contacted the local Embassy on the island and sent in documents about the firearm before arriving on the island.
According to the source, apart from this security breach on the part of Customs, there was also the issue of taxes due to the State on the importation of a firearm that should have been taken into consideration.
He said it was the responsibility of Customs to not only hold the gun in safekeeping before handing it over to the Police but also to collect the payable duties on the firearm due to the State.
“There is normally a good working relationship between the police and Customs but this time it fell down badly”, he remarked.
The source attributed the lack of training of the young generation of staff hired by Customs to work at the airport as partly to be blamed for the breakdown in the system.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the U.S national turned up at South St. George Police Station with the firearm and then had to be directed to take it to Fort George to be processed.
It is not clear how long the firearm remained in the hands of the individual before it was presented to the relevant department on the Fort.