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The new Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) coast guard station at Hendricks Wharf, St. Elizabeth was officially commissioned into service on Wednesday (Feb.16) by National Security Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips.
The new facility, the 5th to be opened in recent times, will be manned by both JDF and Marine police personnel and is expected to protect the country’s south western coastline.
“This represents a significant milestone in the government’s effort to protect the country’s borders and to overcome the challenge of criminal violence that is in our midst,” said Dr. Phillips at the commissioning, adding that the facility would also provide a “safety net for those who from time to time required assistance at sea”.
The station is expected to serve as a vital outpost to the coast guard headquarters at Port Royal and buttress the station located some 98 kilometres away at Pedro Cays.
“Our expectations is that it will act as a deterrent to those who wish to break the law and also serve to facilitate any search and rescue operation as required by the quite extensive fishing communities of the area,” Dr. Phillips noted.
The Security Minister also thanked the individuals and institutions, which assisted in the establishment of the new coast guard station.
“Thanks to Mr. Anthony Hendricks for providing access to the property, the Port Authority and the narcotics affairs section of the United States Embassy for providing this pre-engineered building, which forms part of the station,” he stated.