Nothing 'irregular' about granting Chowtie firearm
April 9, 2004
THERE was nothing irregular about the process through which the Ministry of Home Affairs approved the granting of a firearm license to Gopaul Chowtie.
That's the word from a security spokesman.
Chowtie was killed during a shootout with the police at Success, East Coast Demerara Sunday night, when he and an accomplice pounced on Mr. Jules Chabrol and his wife as they were returning from a wedding reception.
A large quantity of guns and ammunition, in addition to the money and jewelry they stole from the Chabrol family, were recovered by the police at the scene of the crime. One cop was injured in the shootout.
Critics of the Government have sought to link Chowtie's gun license with rumored irregularities in firearm license procedures at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
But a source said yesterday that at the time of the granting of Chowtie's application, "he was not wanted by the police or known to be involved in any illegal activity."
The source presented a report of the Divisional commander recommending the application of Chowtie who, at that time, was a known farmer/businessman on the Essequibo Coast and Hogg Island. At that time, the police report stated that "nothing adverse" was known of him.
Chowtie's application was recommended by then Commissioner of Police (Ag.) Floyd McDonald on February 15, 2000 and approved by Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj, consistent with the statutes.
Chowtie, known then as a large-scale farmer, was pardoned in 1992 for his role in an attempt to overthrow the then PNC regime.
PPP General Secretary Donald Ramotar has rejected insinuations by the PNC/R that Chowtie was "until recently associated with the PPP.
"Gopaul Chowtie ceased to be a member of the PPP in 1989," Mr. Ramotar said earlier this week.
Chowtie was said to be a paid North West District organizer of the PPP until 1988 and stopped being active with the PPP after 1989. "Any claim to the contrary is false and mischievous," said Mr. Ramotar.
He said the PPP would not tolerate anyone violating the laws of the country within its ranks.