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New Bill introduces Chief of Defence Staff, lower firearm fees

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Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019. 12:56 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes : Minister of National Security John Saldivar introduced two bills related to his Ministry on Wednesday. The Firearms (Amendment) Bill provides for new licensing fees, which will be lowered tremendously to appease gun license holders since the cost of security has increased. The decision to lower the fees but limit the amount of ammunition that a license holder can purchase per year was taken after the Police Department held consultations with stakeholders in November.

It is expected that the new measures will assist the department in curbing crime, especially gang-related violence in the Old Capital. As explained by Saldivar, after the increase of fees for personal and company firearms instituted previously, there were “unintended consequences.”

“In the case of companies, they have passed this fee to the business who hire their services and this has resulted in many businesses canceling their security arrangement, which is not very good for our security apparatus. And, of course [with] holders of personal firearms we’ve had a great outcry with the increase that took place almost two years ago. We are hoping to make this adjustment in time for January first,” he said.

The other bill formally introduces a post of Chief of Defense Staff, a liaison between the armed forces and the Ministry of National Security. Now former Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, Rear Admiral (Ret’d.) John Borland has been tipped as a candidate to fill the post. That bill has been sent to the House’s National Security and Immigration Committee.

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