JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The work included extensive refurbishing of offices, bathrooms and interview rooms
  • The refurbished station is expected to contribute significantly to enhancing the airport’s overall safety
  • The renovation and expansion cost of some $23 million

The facilities at the Norman Manley International Airport police station in Kingston have been significantly improved following its renovation and expansion at a cost of some $23 million.

Work carried out, which was funded by Norman Manley International Airport Limited (NMIA)/Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), included extensive refurbishing of offices, bathrooms, interview rooms, changing rooms for police officers, and the kitchen/canteen, among other areas. The project was undertaken in three phases over approximately 12 months.

The newly refurbished station was symbolically handed over to National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Head, Commissioner Owen Ellington, by AAJ Chairman/President and NMIA Chief Executive Officer, Earl Richards, during a brief ceremony at the airport on Wednesday, September 4.

In his remarks, Mr. Bunting noted that the refurbished station is expected to contribute significantly to enhancing the airport’s overall safety and security as well as provide an “appropriate” operational environment for the police officers.

“We understand that for an airport to be globally competitive, it needs, not just to be safe and secure, and difficult to traffic contraband through, but it also has to be an enjoyable experience for your clients, your customers, who are the passengers going through,” the Minister contended.

He urged the officers, under the command of Superintendent Natalie Burton, to demonstrate a level of output and professionalism “that will make the NMIA feel that their investment was an excellent one and will encourage them to make further investments.”

“We (National Security Ministry) are very happy to be part of this occasion and we look forward to continued improvement in the NMIA and, of course, your sister operation, Sangster International Airport (SIA in Montego Bay),” Mr. Bunting said.

Commissioner Ellington said the refurbishment is welcomed in light of the airport’s significant growth and expansion over the years, and the emergence criminal elements who repeatedly attempt to exploit the island’s ports to engage in illicit activities, such as narcotics trafficking, that “threaten our nation’s security and well-being”.

“That has called for increased involvement of the police, not just in airport security, but seaport security, and the security of other vital installations around our country. We value partnerships and we are, indeed, delighted at the efforts made by the Airports Authority of Jamaica to reconstruct this facility in such a way that it can accommodate our expanded deployment and operations here,” he said.

Mr. Ellington assured that the officers at the airport police station are committed to maintaining the facility, while urging them to “ensure that the investment made in building this facility for us is justified with every day of performance that we put in, out here.”

“I (also) have the assurance of the commanders here that they will ensure that the men and women deployed here…partner with you (AAJ/NMIA) as we try to make the Norman Manley airport safe, secure, and ready for business at all times,” he added.

In his remarks, Mr. Richards said the police station’s renovation has given the facility a “dramatic transformation” adding that “the reports that I have…tell me that (the police) team here is reasonably satisfied with the facilities that have been provided.”

The AAJ Chairman pointed out that the project’s implementation ensured that one of the most important functions and activities at the airport, that of security and other functions provided by the police, can be better delivered.

“I think we all know how important…security and law and order are at an international gateway such as the Norman Manley International Airport. The functions performed here are really just one of, maybe, five distinct functions performed by the JCF which operates in other capacities in different parts of the airport. So the work of the JCF at our airport(s) is extremely important and we do appreciate the collaboration and the fact that we are able to achieve, I would think, good results, overall, and good cooperation,” Mr. Richards stated.