The Government is pursuing private sector partnership to construct a new public morgue in Kingston, Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, disclosed on Friday (January 22).
Speaking in the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate, Senator Nelson said that plans for the facility, projected to cost some $426 million, have already been approved by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC).
He said, however, that work cannot proceed until financing is finalised, adding that the Ministry was seeking to engage private sector interests to overcome this challenge.
“We have come to recognise that we can no longer rely exclusively on the public purse for the provision of all the facilities urgently needed to manage crime more effectively,” Senator Nelson indicated.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon Dwight Nelson, speaking in the State of the Nation Debate, in the Senate on Friday (January 22).
He said that, in the case of the public morgue, the Government has decided to adopt a new approach.
“We will be asking the private sector to invest in the construction of the morgue, based on a commitment from the Government to lease and operate,” he explained.
Senator Nelson said that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Major Richard Reese, has had “discussions” with a number of companies to finance the morgue’s construction.
He pointed out that the Ministry has earmarked land, which it owned, to build the facility and that private sector stakeholders interested in partnering with the Government in the venture, would be allowed to finance and build the facility. Thereafter, the Government would either rent or lease it.
“This principle, we will also apply to the building of other structures within the Ministry of National Security,” he said, suggesting that additional prison facilities, as well as facilities for juveniles would be treated similarly.
“We’ll be exploring private sector/Government co-operation to have these facilities built, while the Government leases from them,” Senator Nelson outlined.
Senator Nelson also advised that the Ministry had made “tremendous strides” with the Legal Medicine Unit, with the period for post mortems being significantly reduced.
“Whereas previously you had to wait between six and eight weeks for post mortem (s) to be done, today, you don’t have to wait longer than 10 days,” he told the Senate.