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Cabinet yesterday (September 18), approved a contract valued at US$1.09 million to procure 1,500 bullet proof vests, 600 ballistic helmets and riot shields for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Information and Development Minister, Senator Colin Campbell, told journalists at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing held at Jamaica House, that “it is the policy of the Government and the Ministry of National Security that every graduate from basic training be outfitted with bullet proof vests and ballistic helmets”.
He noted, however, that there was a current shortage of vests and helmets for the regular operations of the JCF.
The Minister pointed out that it would require the acquisition of some 5,000 sets of the equipment to satisfy the current shortfall in order to “properly equip members of the JCF, and the decision to purchase this equipment, will go some way to easing the shortage”.
In the meantime, the Minister said that the Cabinet was updated on the current status of the salary negotiations with members of the JCF, to conclude a new two-year compensation agreement.
“The government is expressing its continued wish that the matter be resolved in an atmosphere conducive to successful wage negotiations, and the entire Cabinet was very clear that we wanted this matter to proceed in an atmosphere where we could continue to have a security force that was motivated. The salary negotiations will continue and we hope that it will be successfully concluded within a short time,” the Minister said.