National Security Minister, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, has reassured the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) of his Ministry’s commitment to improving the conditions at police stations which have fallen into disrepair.
Senator Nelson was speaking at the signing of a $30 million contract for the construction of the Alexandria Police Station in St. Ann, at the Ministry’s office in Kingston on Thursday (July 16).
“I firmly believe that, in order to achieve the objective, ultimately, of eliminating or reducing crime and violence, we have to place the police force in an environment where it is conducive to their mental well being,” Senator Nelson said.
He said that the accommodation should allow them to carry out their functions, duties and responsibilities without the pressures created by the disrepair. He added that his observances, while on tour of several police facilities over the past couple of months, made his “blood run cold”.
National Security Minister, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson (second left), presents Managing Director of construction firm Share-Con Limited, Clive Sterling (second right), with a cheque representing the first installment of funds for the construction of a new police station at Alexandria in St. Ann, during the signing ceremony at the Ministry’s office in Kingston on Thursday (July 16). Looking on are: Project Manager (Police Stations), Whilston Taylor (left), and Member of Parliament for South West St. Ann, where the station is to be built, Ernest Smith.
He voiced particular concern over conditions at the stations in Anchovy, St. James, and Highgate, St. Mary, as well as Mobile Reserve’s headquarters, Harman Barracks, Kingston.
Arising out of the tour of Anchovy, Senator Nelson said that a submission was made to Cabinet to purchase the property, which is rented. He said that approval was granted and the negotiations are being finalised with the Commissioner of Lands.
“We are going to build a new police station there. We also got Cabinet to agree to move the police from that station (to temporary accommodation) across the road (which) we are going to refurbish, so that they can exist there until we build the new station,” he explained.
Senator Nelson said the tour of the Highgate station revealed “big holes” in the roof of the dormitory, while at the Mobile Reserve in Kingston he saw buildings which “ought not to be in existence, today.”
“I’m an unapologetic defender of the police force,” Senator Nelson asserted.
“We are going to address the conditions under which policemen and women in this country are forced to exist. One of the pledges that I made as Minister, is that if we can’t get the money out of the budget, then I’m going to find the money, somehow, because I’m not going to allow police stations to remain as they are,” he added.
Work on the Alexandria station, which is expected to last some eight months, is to commence next week, with the contractor, Share-Con Limited of Hanover, initiating mobilisation activities.
Member of Parliament for South West St. Ann, where the new station will be built, Ernest Smith, in welcoming the project, pledged his commitment to assist.
“I look forward to seeing the completion and opening of the building, and I look forward to working with the contractor,” Mr. Smith said.
Contracts for the project were signed by Senator Nelson and Managing Director of Share-Con, Clive Sterling.