Acting Senior Superintendent Curt Simon (left) examines the $10,000 DJI Phantom Drone presented by Chaguanas Chamber president Richie Sookhai, on Monday November 8th, at the Freeport Police Station. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

“Keep the guns coming!” is the sentiment expressed by Richie Sookhai, president of the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC).

At the time, Sookhai was speaking at the Freeport Police Station as the Chamber donated a $10,000 drone to the Police Service, on Monday November 8th.

Sookhai said government should not regress into a system of extreme bureaucracy for businessmen to acquire legal firearms. He said before Gary Griffith was appointed Commissioner of Police, there was a lot of red tape when it came to getting a firearm license.

“You can’t tell me it’s easier to access an illegal firearm when it should be easy to access a legal firearm through the appropriate channels,” Sookhai said.

Referring to Griffith, the Chamber president noted: “We saw during his tenure that applicants were able to access their firearm license in record time compared to the past commissioners.  We are hoping that this trend continues. We would like to know that due diligence is done for each applicant, so that each applicant who is receiving the firearms license is a responsible person who can protect not only themselves but also other individuals and their surroundings.”

“The criminal elements are accessing firearms easily because T&T is a huge transhipment point and it seems that we are not able to curb the importation of illegal firearms as we would like to.  However, the citizens need to protect themselves. We are hoping that the new commissioner would be able to continue the work and process applicants in the future,” he added.

Sookhai said he expects the crime rate to increase as soon as the state of emergency concludes at the end of November:

“A lot of people have been without jobs, and we will expect a spike in crime.  You know what goes on in the Central area around Christmas time.”

Sookhai said the Chamber was happy to provide the police with the drone, and promised the Central Division more drones. He called on the business community to work with the police to cultivate a safe environment.

Acting Senior Superintendent Curt Simon said the drone would be used for intelligence gathering in the Central Division, especially to tackle white collar crimes. Simon said there already are officers who are trained to use the drones and revealed that five more policemen would be trained.