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Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr Horace Chang, says the Government’s investment in strengthening the capacity of the security forces, particularly in the area of border security, positions the country to more aggressively pursue development of the Blue Economy.

The Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.

Speaking at the inaugural Resilient Policies on National Development (RESPOND) Virtual Symposium on Wednesday (June 24), Dr. Chang said the Blue Economy is critical for Jamaica’s economic resilience.

“Jamaica’s strategic geographic location facilitates trade, logistics, maritime transport and connectivity with key partner countries. Our ideal location, at the crossroads of the Western hemisphere, however, presents added security risks that require bilateral and regional cooperation,” he noted.

Minister Chang said the capacity of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard to patrol territorial waters and disrupt the drugs-for-guns and food-for-guns trade has been strengthened through the efforts of the Maritime, Air and Cyber Command (MACC), and the acquisition of two new Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPVs) and one Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA).

He noted that the goal is to amass four OPVs and two MPAs to conduct 24-hour monitoring of Jamaica’s coast.

Minister Chang said the Government has made steady investments in improving the mobility, communications, surveillance, and forensic capabilities of the police force.

“Through the utilisation of cutting-edge technology and science as a police force multiplier, we are increasing the capacity of the force to disrupt crime and apprehend criminals,” he added.

The two-day RESPOND Virtual Symposium is a partnership between the Ministry of National Security and the JDF and is facilitated by the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA), the academic arm of the JDF.

Members of the public interested in participating in the RESPOND Virtual Symposium can visit the social media pages of the MNS (@mnsgovjm) and the JDF (@jdfsoldier) where a virtual link will be posted.

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