Firearms charges mount

Three men are the latest to face mandatory 10 year prison sentences in connection with two separate unlicensed firearms cases.

On Monday, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service arrested two men, aged 24 and 25, on suspicion of possessing an unlicensed firearm following an operation in Windsor Park, George Town.

Neighbourhood Policing Officers and the Drugs Task Force seized a pistol and some ammunition from the Andy Drive address during the operation Monday afternoon. The men are now in police custody and investigations into the seizure are continuing, said an RCIPS news release.

On Tuesday morning, Norman Allen Clarke, 31, appeared in court charged with a number of offences including possessing an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Mr. Clarke was arrested 7 October after police responded to an early morning report of a disturbance in the School Road, McField Square area.

The arrests come after Todd Omar Bowen, 23, received a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence 5 October for possessing an unlicensed firearm at the 2006 Bodden Town Pirates Week function.

Under a 2005 amendment to the Firearms Law introduced by the PPM Government, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for anyone convicted of possessing an unlicensed firearm. Since the 1990s, the maximum sentence for firearms sentences has been 20 years.

Last month, the Government proposed another amendment to the Firearms Law, giving judge’s discretion not to impose the 10-year mandatory minimum term if they are satisfied exceptional circumstances exist. But the introduction of the law has been delayed after defence attorneys raised concerns with it.

In sentencing Bowen, Justice Alexander Henderson said he would have imposed a lesser sentence if he had discretion.