Border Control to be Strengthened


Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies today (April 22) signed a US$19,274, 840 loan agreement with the Holland-based ING Bank N.V. for the acquisition of three Offshore Surveillance vessels to strengthen Jamaica’s border control.
The loan agreement represents 65 per cent of the cost of the vessels. The additional down payment of US$10,378,760 will be financed through a development aid grant from the Dutch Government under its ORET programme for sea going vessels.
Speaking at the signing ceremony at the offices of the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Kingston, Dr. Davies said the Government was very grateful for the grant component that was being provided by the Dutch Government.
Dr. Davies said the grant “represents a continuation of years of support on a bilateral basis from the Dutch Government to the Government and people of Jamaica”.
Meanwhile, Annmarie Barnes, Senior Director in the Ministry of National Security said: “We are particularly pleased that the coastguard will finally be receiving the extra capabilities that they need to significantly improve their border control efforts”.
She said that the vessels would be used to patrol an area that was 22 times larger than the land area of Jamaica. She expressed appreciation to the Dutch Government and the Bank for their support.
The Senior Director pointed out that the acquisition of the vessels was an indication of the Government’s commitment to provide for the long-term needs of the security sector.
“This agreement in fact, constitutes part of the Government’s commitment to providing for the long-term infrastructural needs of the security sector even as we address the critical and urgent needs to secure our borders against very severe threats to our national security,” she said.
Meanwhile, in response, Martin Preuss of ING Bank N.V. said that the agreement was a “good start in the relationship between your country and our institution”.
The commercial loan with ING Bank will be for a period of 12 years with interest at six month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) Index, plus a spread of 0.65 per cent. Repayment will be for a period of 24 equal and consecutive semi-annual payments, commencing six months after draw down.
The agreement provides for technical assistance, spare parts, maintenance and training. The vessels will replace three older vessels that have been disposed of and are to be delivered over a 30-month period with the first scheduled to arrive 18 months after the signing of the contract.
Thereafter, the remaining two boats will be delivered on a six-month interval basis.

JIS Social