The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has received an additional 15 vehicles to strengthen its crime fighting efforts in resort areas across five rural parishes.
The brand-new Toyota Corolla motor cars, acquired by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) at a cost of $28.2 million, were handed over to Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, during a ceremony held on Wednesday, February 27, at the Commissioner’s Old Hope Road offices.
The units will be deployed to the parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland and St. Mary.
State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damian Crawford, who addressed the handing over ceremony on behalf of portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, said it is important that crime fighters are provided with the necessary tools to effectively execute their duties.
He further congratulated the Ministry of National Security for the outstanding job it has been doing, particularly as it regards the recent reduction in the crime rate and Commissioner Ellington, “under whose watch this has been accomplished.”
Mr. Crawford urged the men and women of the JCF to “keep up the good work and to utilise the vehicles well”.
National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, in conveying gratitude, noted the importance of investing in the country’s security infrastructure. Such provision, he said, will result in direct benefits not only for the tourism product, but for all other productive sectors.
Commissioner Ellington, for his part, said the majority of the vehicles will be utilised for highway policing to ensure the safety of tourists on the roadways. He said the traffic police will be out in their numbers in these resort towns to enforce the road traffic rules.
In the meantime, Director of Projects at the TEF, Christopher Miller, said the Fund is mindful of its mandate to implement projects and programmes to enhance the overall tourist experience in Jamaica, while providing for the sustainable development of the sector.
He noted that to this end, the TEF has approved grants in excess of $8.5 million over the past two and a half years for projects geared towards strengthening the capacity of the JCF in the resort areas.
“We believe we will reap the rewards of these investments as we work towards the development of a sustainable tourism sector, while creating a safer society for all,” he remarked.
The donation of the vehicles is part of ongoing efforts by the TEF and the Tourism Ministry to bolster the resources of local law enforcers.
In May of last year, the Ministry presented 16 sports utility vehicles, purchased at a cost of $32 million, to the JCF, which were deployed across seven divisions in resort areas.
Additionally, the Montego Hills Police Station in St. James was refurbished at a cost of $6 million, while, through a partnership with the St. James Police-Citizens Action Committee, the JCF was provided with motorcycles at a cost of $1.5 million. The motorcycles are being used in the monitoring and enforcement of the traffic laws along the Rose Hall main road, otherwise called the “Elegant Corridor”, in the Montego Bay resort area.