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The Government is to procure an automated palm and fingerprint identification system in its bid to enhance the capabilities of the island’s law enforcement officers in locating criminals.
Minister of Information, Senator Burchell Whiteman made the disclosure yesterday (February 28), at a post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.”This is in pursuance of the effort to strengthen the capacity of the police to track down and prosecute criminal offenders to the full extent of the law,” the Minister pointed out.
Minister Whiteman informed journalists that Cabinet has approved a US$3.6 million contract to a French company, SAGEM SA, to supply an automated palm and fingerprint system to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
He said that as the Fingerprint Act was being amended, to support the law, “the decision was taken to get the most up-to-date and appropriate fingerprinting system”.
The introduction of the hi-tech fingerprinting system, he noted, should help “in tracking persons who were in the books of the law but it will also be able to speed up the process of providing police records for people who need them for business, travel, or other purposes”.
Mr. Whiteman said in addition to granting approval, the Cabinet has also authorised the Ministry of Finance “to negotiate with the supplier in respect of financing terms, so that our expenditure will be phased in the best way possible”.
He said in order to ensure the successful and timely implementation of the fingerprinting system, it would be incumbent on the Ministry of National Security to have the main site, where the system will be operational, properly prepared.
The Minister stressed that the Security Ministry’s remote sites outside of Kingston, should “also be acquired and made ready for use of the system”.
Another matter Minister Whiteman highlighted was the Cabinet’s approval of Jamaica’s participation in the International Tourism Exchange, a travel and trade show that will be held in Berlin, Germany from March 11 to 15.
Citing the event as “a premier international show and a prime meeting place and marketplace.a driving force behind the entire international tourism industry”, the Minister said given that Jamaica has been targeting the European tourism market, it was important that the island registered its attendance at the high-profile event.
“Jamaica has been targeting Europe for some time. Last year, despite the hurricane, the combined United Kingdom (UK) and continental Europe market made up 18 per cent of the total stopover visitors arriving in Jamaica, and Europe and the UK together, increased by 11 per cent over the previous year, demonstrating that destination Jamaica is on the rise. So the Ministry of Tourism and Jamaica Tourist Board are of the view that it is important to maintain the profile in the European marketplace and that is why a team is going to Berlin,” he explained.