The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) has come under intense scrutiny following allegations of corruption in the issuance of firearm licences to certain questionable characters. The story has ballooned into an uncovering of irregular practices, allegations of bribes and strongarming to get FLA employees to break the law, and, to top things off, an anonymous whistleblower has written a letter accusing several high-level players of promoting and supporting corrupt practices in the FLA. Below, we have chronicled the Gleaner’s coverage of the debacle.
To give some context to the timeline, you should keep in mind Jamaica’s X6 Murder Trial. In this case, businessman Patrick Powell was charged with murder and shooting with intent arising from the death of 17-year-old Kingston College student Kahjeel Mais in July 2011 in Havendale, St Andrew. Mais was a passenger in a taxi that collided with a BMW X6 sports utility vehicle, which Powell was allegedly driving. It was reported that after the crash, the driver of the X6 got out of his car and fired a bullet into the taxi before fleeing the scene. Hence the name ‘X6 Murder Trial’ (called #X6Trial on social media).
Powell, a licensed firearm holder, was asked to hand over his licensed firearm as part of police investigations. He was unable to do so, and the files for the firearm also went missing from the FLA. Powell was later cleared of murder charges after a court case fraught with irregularities. This raised several red flags for members of the public, and a probe was launched into the FLA’s operations. The ensuing scandal is a result of this probe, now being carried out by Jamaica’s Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA).
November 2, 2016
The new board at the Firearm Licensing Authority has hit the ground running and revealed that businessman Patrick Powell’s file is missing from its offices. According to an investigation carried out by the new FLA board, the last established evidence of the movement of the file was when an officer in the then CEO’s office made a request from the FLA Registry on April 14, 2015.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
A senior executive at the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) revealed that the agency still has not been able to locate the original file with data related to the gun permit issued to businessman Patrick Powell.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The chairman of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) Dennis Wright says the disappearance of the original file for businessman Patrick Powell caused “some challenges” when the agency began the process of revoking his firearm licence. However, Wright testified in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court that the FLA was able to overcome the challenges.
Friday, July 28, 2017
The People’s National Party Youth Organization (PNPYO) called for the top executives of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) to be sent on leave to allow for an independent review of its operations. The demand wasin light of concern about reported failures in the process to issue firearm permits.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
More of the alleged shady operations at the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), in which guns are reportedly being approved for people of questionable character, are being revealed, with more than 100 cases now said to be under investigation for alleged breaches.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Deputy Chairman of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) Dennis Meadows is now the subject of a probe by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA). In a release, chairman of the FLA Dennis Wright said he has asked MOCA to initiate an investigation into innuendos being made against Meadows regarding operations at the authority.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The entire board of directors of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) has resigned amid the controversy over the issuance of gun permit to people of questionable character.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
The anti-corruption lobby group National Integrity Action (NIA) is calling for a speedy conclusion of investigation into the scandal-hit Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) after reports of the granting of gun permits to people of questionable character.
Outspoken Trelawny churchman, the Reverend Devere Nugent, has flayed the political system for the imbroglio now engulfing the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA). According to Nugent, the way the boards of state agencies are appointed by the Government is to be blamed for the controversy at the FLA.
The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has renewed its call for the Government to fast-track proposed changes to the appointment and structure of public-sector boards. According to PSOJ President Paul Scott, the need for this change is important, in light of the recent controversy surrounding the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) board.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Police investigators are narrowing down on key employees at the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) in an expanding corruption probe at the scandal-hit agency, which remains without a board.
Saturday, August 20, 2017
As the probe deepens into the questionable granting of gun permits by the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), there are more indications emerging that the stench of corruption has engulfed the entity for many years.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Opposition MP Peter Bunting has rejected suggestions that while he was National Security Minister, the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) granted gun permits under questionable circumstances.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Peter Bunting, the opposition spokesman on national security, is on the defensive, now claiming that the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), while under his watch as national security minister, did not corruptly grant licences.
Two senior members of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) were separated from the agency with immediate effect as the investigations into corruption at the state agency continued.
- National Security Minister Summons FLA Board Amid Controversy Over Gun Permits
- Update: Montague Orders FLA Review Amid Gun Permit Controversy
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Two senior members of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) were separated from the agency with immediate effect yesterday as the investigations into corruption at the state agency continued.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Gleaner Columnist Mark Wignall weighs in on the FLA corruption scandal: In the early 2000s, before the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA) was formed (2005), a set of drug dealers and politically connected thugs were extradited to the US. Almost all of them had gun licences. The last going price I heard just before the FLA was put in place was $250,000 a pop. … With recent revelations coming out of the FLA, it does appear that not much has changed in the corruption template.
Friday, August 25, 2017
A recommendation has been made for the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) to put a stop to investigators taking applicants’ files with them into the field for verification even as new documents emerge of a senior policeman supporting a convicted man’s push to get back his firearm.
National Security Minister Robert Montague says a new board is to be appointed for the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) soon.
The National Security Ministry is reporting that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has received credible reports of death threats against former Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) Board Chairman, Dennis Wright; CEO, Shane Dalling and former acting CEO, Lincoln Allen.
Monday, August 28, 2017
MOCA issues a statement detailing the timeline of activities since the unveiling of the firearm permit scandal, the FLA reform agenda, and giving information on the process by which a new board will be selected.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) is reporting that it has now found a file linked to the X6 murder case.
Three former employees of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) who were recently dismissed from the embattled agency are to bring a claim against the authority for wrongful dismissal.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) is working with the police in a house-to-house search for licensed firearm holders who have failed to present their guns for inspection, renewal and certification.
Friday, September 15, 2017
Greater scrutiny now applies to all government agencies that fall under the banner of national security, such as the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA), the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 – Cabinet approves new board
Cabinet appoints a new FLA board, including the former chairman.
Monday, February 12, 2018 – Patrick Powell leaves prison
Patrick Powell, the man whose case started the FLA saga, is released on Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 after serving six months out of a nine-month sentence.