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The National Quarantine Station at Plumb Point along the Palisadoes road in Kingston, was officially re-opened by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton yesterday (Jan. 14).
The facility, which has been expanded and undergone major repairs, was established in the early 1900s, and is the largest facility of its kind in the region.
Dr. Tufton noted that the quarantine station,”symbolises a transformation which is going to support the expansion of a number of subsectors that fall under the control and regulation of the Ministry of Agriculture.”
He noted further that quarantine facilities are very important to the development of any country, “because it protects all the relevant industries, protects the livelihood of the people of a country, from the possibility of diseases of one form or another”. Dr. Tufton added that the country’s susceptibility to the risks of such diseases have increased due to liberalisation, globalisation, and technology, which allow free movement from one country to another.
The Agriculture Minister said the quarantine station has served an important purpose for many years, but that over time, has had to deal with the vagaries of weather, particularly storms and wind damage, due to its location near the sea. Despite this however, he said the location was ideal, due to the close proximity to the airport, and that it is separated from the general movement of people and animals.
Noting that the cost of repairing the facility of just over $15 million “is money well spent,” he informed that the facility will now be able to accommodate 21 horses at a time, up from eight horses and will generally be able to house more animals, whether pets or livestock.
Dr. Tufton also informed that there are plans to officially open a pest risk unit at the customs facility to do a similar type of inspection for food items coming into the country, “because we believe that it is important to protect our borders from the possibility of diseases.”