Plans to improve operations of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Polygraph Unit have been bolstered with the injection of approximately $59 million ($705,000 CAD).
The money, donated by the Canadian Government, will be used for training, equipment and upgrading work, with the objective of making the unit a centre of excellence for training in the use of polygraph applications in the Caribbean.
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Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, speaking after a tour of the unit on Thursday May 24, located on the grounds of the JCF’s training academy in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, said that the Canadian government has been instrumental in the country’s efforts to raise quality and standards in the police force.
“We are happy for the relationship that has supported our fight against corruption and crime and violence. We have further implemented initiatives related to cyber security, maritime border security, anti-money laundering, and we are very happy that Canada has been such a reliable and trusted partner for Jamaica in our development efforts,” he stated.
The Security Minister noted that the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), under which the Polygraph Unit falls, has helped to improve professionalism in the force.
Mr. Bunting said that the government is working to ensure that the standards of the force can be comparable with international best practices, and are worthy of emulation worldwide.
Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Diane Ablonczy, who was also on the tour, said polygraph is a critical tool in the fight against anti-corruption activities.
“Thanks to these expanded facilities that are going to be coming very soon and to extra training for JCF staff, we believe that this will become a regional hub of polygraph expertise and is going to make a tremendous difference,” she stated.
In his remarks, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Stephen Hallihan, said the unit can be viewed as a “game changer” within the force, adding that “it will be an indispensable part of the Jamaican government’s anti-corruption strategy”.
A polygraph is a machine that collects and records physiological data such as blood pressure, pulse, respiratory, sweat gland and cardiovascular activities, while the subject responds to a series of questions, to determine the truthfulness of the answers given.
The Polygraph Unit is manned by three members of the security force, who have received international polygraph certification courtesy of the Canadian government.
Construction of the unit was funded in part by the European Union, the Canadian High Commission and the British High Commission.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter