Surveillance Aircraft to be Acquired

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, highlights a point while addressing a press briefing at the Ministry’s Oxford Road offices in St. Andrew yesterday (January 18).

Story Highlights

  • The Government is to acquire a surveillance aircraft as part of a raft of new measures to strengthen the country’s border-protection system.
  • This was disclosed by Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, during a press briefing at his Oxford Road offices in St. Andrew on Wednesday (January 18).
  • In the meantime, the Minister informed that Jamaica is to acquire an additional naval ship, outfitted with a helicopter, from the United Kingdom (UK) early next month.

The Government is to acquire a surveillance aircraft as part of a raft of new measures to strengthen the country’s border-protection system.

This was disclosed by Minister of National Security, Hon. Robert Montague, during a press briefing at his Oxford Road offices in St. Andrew on Wednesday (January 18).

He said the Government “has taken a very conscious decision that we are going to invest heavily in national security to ensure citizens’ safety and security”.

He informed that the aircraft, which has already been purchased and will be in the island by July, will not become operational until early next year, “because we have to build specialised surveillance equipment and fit it on to that aircraft”.

In the meantime, the Minister informed that Jamaica is to acquire an additional naval ship, outfitted with a helicopter, from the United Kingdom (UK) early next month.

“This will not only assist us in dominating the marine environment but will also assist with search and rescue (efforts),” he said.

A vessel was recently procured through the Jamaica Customs Agency.

Additionally, the Minister noted that following bilateral meetings with the United States Government, both countries have agreed to share intelligence “because a lot of the traffic in our waters is being monitored by the United States navy and coast guard”.

He noted that through these and other measures, in collaboration with key trading partners, including Canada, the Government “will be providing sufficient dominance of our marine space to do search and rescue, stop the flow of drugs, stop the flow of guns and, most importantly, to protect our fishing resources”.

The Minister informed that the Administration is also looking at establishing an islandwide radar network “to cover every square inch of our coastline and much of the marine space”.

“(With this network) whether it is a man on a raft, or two men in a little canoe, or (several) people in a big ship, we will have sight of them once they come within a certain distance of the Jamaican coastline,” he said.

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