More Marine Bases to Protect Borders

Photo: Mark Bell Acting Commissioner of Police, Novelette Grant (right), and Commissioner of Customs, Major (Rt’d) Richard Reese, engage in discussion shortly before the start of a press briefing held at the National Security Ministry’s Oxford Road Offices in St. Andrew, yesterday (January 18). The briefing was held to provide details on the MOU, which will see the establishment of three new marine bases in Jamaica. The document was signed by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) in December last year.

Story Highlights

  • The Government’s effort to protect Jamaica’s borders will be bolstered with the establishment of three new marine bases along sections of the country’s coastline.
  • To be located at Rocky Point in Clarendon; James Bond Beach, in St. Mary; and Little Ochi in St. Elizabeth, the bases will be jointly established and operated by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).
  • Acting Commissioner of Police, Novelette Grant, said the new bases are not only important in reducing the movement of contraband but in reducing the incidents of trafficking in persons as well.

The Government’s effort to protect Jamaica’s borders will be bolstered with the establishment of three new marine bases along sections of the country’s coastline.

To be located at Rocky Point in Clarendon; James Bond Beach, in St. Mary; and Little Ochi in St. Elizabeth, the bases will be jointly established and operated by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA).

This is contained in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed by both entities in December last year.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, has welcomed the move, noting that this new development is going to “change the game as to how we treat with our borders”.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry’s Oxford Road Offices in St. Andrew, yesterday (January 18), Mr. Montague said additional bases will be key in stemming the flow of contrabands, particularly guns, into the island.

“We do not manufacture guns or bullets legally, yet in 81 per cent of crimes committed in Jamaica, the gun is featured. (Therefore,) we have to stop the flow of guns coming into Jamaica. This MOU to provide additional protection along our coast is welcomed,” he said.

He noted that the efforts at curtailing illicit activities at the country’s borders are made even more difficult given that Jamaica’s marine space is 25 times the size of the country and 145 points of entry have been established illegally.

For her part, Acting Commissioner of Police, Novelette Grant, said the new bases are not only important in reducing the movement of contraband but in reducing the incidents of trafficking in persons as well.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Customs, Major (Rt’d) Richard Reese said the MOU represents a very important milestone in the JCF and JCA’s partnership in strengthening border protection.

The marine bases will be used to deter, prevent, detect and/or prosecute breaches of the Customs and other laws of Jamaica.

Activities will include the planning and execution of joint contraband-interdiction operations; searching of vessels; the interception of suspicious vessels, persons and/or goods; coastal surveillance and intelligence gathering; the execution of and/or the provision of support for the regulatory functions of other agencies of the Government.

Specifically, the JCA will be responsible for constructing and otherwise establishing the physical infrastructure required to support the marine bases, such as physical infrastructure.

This will include construction of modular facilities for the operation of the marine bases and installation of sewage disposal, water supply, electricity and any other utilities required for operation.

The JCA will also provide two 30-foot Boston Whaler watercraft and twin-cab pickup motor vehicles to be deployed at Rocky Point and Little Ochi bases.

The JCF will provide three marine craft, along with coxswain (person who steers the boat) and crew, to be deployed to all bases on a 24-hour, seven days a week basis.

Members of the JCF and JDF are currently deployed at the Port Antonio marina, in Portland; the Hendricks Wharf in St. Elizabeth; and the Port Royal base.

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