The Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) opened its fourth location, the Northern Regional Office, on Friday at Dairy Road in Discovery Bay, St Ann, to serve residents of the three parishes who usually had to travel long distances to either Kingston or Montego Bay to access the authority’s services.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FLA, Shane Dalling, has underscored the importance of having an office specifically to serve Trelawny, St Ann and St Mary.
“We believe in this decade and in this year, it must be a mantra of ‘Government at your service’. We want service for the people and as a part of national security, we must offer security, privacy and convenience to our stakeholders,” stated Dalling at the launch.
He said the Northern Regional Office is necessary for the FLA to cover the four regions of Jamaica in a comprehensive way.
The new office is equipped with state-of-the art facilities that allow applicants to track the progress of their applications online. The office is also linked electronically with the Criminal Records Office, which enables the FLA to trace the criminal backgrounds of applicants within a minute.
“We’re hoping to replicate this sort of service in Mandeville and Montego Bay,” Dalling stated.
The FLA was established in 2005 as a statutory organisation within the Ministry of National Security. Its first office was opened in Kingston in 2006, before extending its service via offices in Montego Bay in 2012 and Mandeville in 2016.
The Northern Regional Office began operating in October last year before its official opening on Friday.
The office was set up with funding totally from the FLA, at an amount that Dalling said cannot be compared to the importance of national security.
“The cost of national security is not our primary objective,” he stated. “Therefore, the national security and the security of every single firearm and the licence holder is our primary objective, not so much the cost of that.”