JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips has announced plans to build a new police station in Bath, St Thomas, during this year. The building will be constructed on premises, which housed the former police station in the community. The policemen are now operating out of a two-bedroom house, which is in poor condition.
“The conditions under which the men and women operate up there cannot be allowed to continue, and so we are in the process of doing our architectural design and engineering preliminaries and as soon as those are completed, we intend to go into construction and to have that begin in the course of this year,” the Minister said, while addressing members of the business community in the parish and the Jamaica Constabulary Force at a working luncheon last week, at Whispering Bamboo in Morant Bay.
Earlier, the Minister, along with State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works and Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, and Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police George Williams toured and inspected conditions at the Yallahs, Seaforth, Port Morant, Morant Bay and Bath police stations.
The Minister and his entourage also visited the parents of Damian Thomas, a teenager who was shot dead by a policeman in Seaforth. While there, Minister Phillips told the family that the Government would undertake the funeral expenses and provide counselling for the boy’s relatives.
Referring to the incident during his address, the Minister said that every time a situation like that occurred, “it (ruptured) the confidence which must exist between the people and the police force.”
“We will not be able to overcome this problem of crime and criminality unless the police force and the population join together with the stoutest bonds of trust and mutual respect that are possible,” he added.
Minister Phillips noted that this could only be possible if the people believed that the security forces were acting with the necessary restraint and respect for the rights of all the citizens.
The Minister also mentioned plans to address the shortage of police vehicles in the parish. In addition, he said, the Ministry would embark on modernizing the country’s law enforcement activities and was in the process of installing a computer-based border control passport inspection system that would get under way early this year, at sea ports and airports. Plans are also afoot to introduce x-ray systems for cargo at our seaports, he added.
Admitting that the world changed after the events of September 11, 2001, the Minister pointed out that Jamaica was not isolated from that world and was “not immune from the pressures of that world.” He noted that tourism came mainly from North America, and it was necessary to ensure the safety of Jamaicans and tourists while they were in Jamaica.
He also mentioned that new traffic ticketing systems would be introduced to facilitate the keeping of better records and to ensure that fines were paid regularly. A computer-based management information system in the police force will allow all the stations to be linked to the main crime fighting databases, he said. The Minister said that these projects would be completed as fast as resources were available.
“It will take time. It is costly, but when these are completed, we will have a different platform of policing to operate from in the country,” he added.

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