New firearms policy “illegally” in force

POSTED: 01/4/12 12:10 PM

St. Maarten – The police and Justice Minister Roland Duncan are still working out whether or not the backlog of people who applied for gun licenses in 2011 will be scrutinized based on the regulations form that year or the new policy which took effect on January 1, 2012. Police Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte announced this yesterday in response to questions from this newspaper.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan confirmed last week that the new rules would take effect with the start of 2012 despite the fact that he has not published it in accordance with Article 3 of the National Ordinance on publication and entry into force.

“It is an instruction and is my discretion so I don’t have to publish it. In fact we started already in June of this year,” Duncan said.

Contra to the minister’s statement subsection g of Article 3 of the law publication and entry into force states that the government must publish ministerial regulations.

Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte did not put it that way. He confirmed that the new rules took effect on January 1 after the policy was finalized in June. He also announced that the police are working to clear the backlog of applications from 2011.

“We still have to look at a few details and we are also working out a transition phase with the minister for the applications we received last year,” de Witte said.

Anyone who applies in 2012 will definitely be subject to the new regulations and will have to begin the application process at the Ministry of Justice.

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