JIS News

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  • Jamaica’s first Beach Safety and Security Watch was launched on June 19 at the Greenwich Farm Fishing Village, in Kingston.
  • Speaking at the launch, held at the fishing village, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Terrence Bent, said that Jamaica’s beaches and fishing villages have moved away from fishing and leisure activities, and this has presented many challenges.
  • “I am very happy that we have an initiative that will see the police and the community working together. In the watch, it will not be the police imposing themselves on you, as you will also be a part of the decision-making process,” he told the fisherfolk.

Jamaica’s first Beach Safety and Security Watch was launched on June 19 at the Greenwich Farm Fishing Village, in Kingston.

The watch is a subset of the Neighbourhood Watch Programme, which is driven by the Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB). It involves the local police, fisherfolk and other stakeholders working in partnership for the safety and security of users and occupants of the beach.

Speaking at the launch, held at the fishing village, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, Terrence Bent, said that Jamaica’s beaches and fishing villages have moved away from fishing and leisure activities, and this has presented many challenges.

“These challenges have confronted the Jamaican public in several ways. Every year the JCF recovers many illegal firearms on the street, which are involved in over 70 per cent of the murders in the country. We have come to accept that a large number of these firearms come to our country off the coastline and in some cases our fishing villages,” he said.

Mr. Bent pointed out that there is a strong trade in drugs and firearms within the Caribbean and “many unscrupulous persons take the welcoming and kind nature of a fisherman to advance these illegal activities”.

He also noted the presence of violence on beaches and in the fishing villages, and the watch should help to reduce such cases.

“I am very happy that we have an initiative that will see the police and the community working together. In the watch, it will not be the police imposing themselves on you, as you will also be a part of the decision-making process,” he told the fisherfolk.

Meanwhile, Inspector with responsibility for the Beach Safety and Security Watch Programme, Marilyn Benjamin, extended an invitation to all fisherfolk in the beach village to partner for safety, prevention of health hazards, crime and the preservation of the environment.

“The decision to start a beach watch came from the fisherfolk. A member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be the liaison, and in addition the local police will attend meetings and share information on how to deal with issues faced by fisherfolk. We look forward to working with you,” Inspector Benjamin said.

For his part, Head of the Community Safety and Security Branch, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bishop Dr. Gary Welsh, commended the fisherfolk for taking the initiative in the launch and pledged the support of the Branch.

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