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Story Highlights

  • The safety and security of residents of Ocho Rios has been boosted through the installation of a closed circuit television (CCTV) system in the resort town.
  • The system was acquired at a cost of over $107 million through funding provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and represents a partnership between the National Security and Tourism Ministries.
  • At a handover ceremony on Thursday, September 3, at the Ocho Rios Police Station, Tourism Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, welcomed the surveillance system.

The safety and security of residents of Ocho Rios has been boosted through the installation of a closed circuit television (CCTV) system in the resort town.

The system was acquired at a cost of over $107 million through funding provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and represents a partnership between the National Security and Tourism Ministries.

At a handover ceremony on Thursday, September 3, at the Ocho Rios Police Station, Tourism Minister, Hon.  Dr. Wykeham McNeill, welcomed the surveillance system.

He noted that “as one of our six resort areas and the location of one of our major cruise ship ports, Ocho Rios is always on our radar. It is also a vibrant community of spirited Jamaicans whose warmth and friendliness keep visitors coming back again and again.”

The Government has been setting up CCTV systems in public spaces in order to improve safety and security across the country.

The Ocho Rios system brings to four the number of towns where CCTVs have been installed, with the others being in May Pen, Mandeville and Montego Bay.

National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, said he expects the cameras to provide the police with invaluable assistance in not only apprehending criminals, but also increasing the chances of convictions.

“The use of CCTV has grown tremendously over the past 20 years,” Mr. Bunting said. “It has a proven track record and as we  have seen in incidents such as the Boston Marathon bombing (in the United States), it was used to identify the perpetrators,” he pointed out.

He added that the cameras will be monitored “right around the clock”, enabling the police to identify crimes in progress.

“The next step is, rather than having a distributive system, we can put together a national monitoring system where places like the National Works Agency (NWA), the Parish Councils and even private operators can all operate under one umbrella,” he informed.

North East St. Ann Member of Parliament and Opposition Spokesperson on Tourism Shahine Robinson, who was also on hand, gave her commitment to supporting the Government’s crime-fighting initiative within her constituency.

For his part, Police Commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams, assured all law-abiding Jamaicans that the cameras will be used in “a very responsible way” and that the privacy of persons will be protected.

“The information gathered will be handled confidentially. No innocent person should be worried that their privacy will be violated,” he said.

The Police Commissioner informed that a decision has been reached to have police lock- ups monitored by CCTV “so as to guarantee that prisoners’ human rights and dignity are not violated.”