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$268m police station for Port Antonio

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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PORTLAND, Jamaica — Minister of National Security Robert Montague on Friday afternoon broke ground for the construction of a $268 million police station on Harbour Street, Port Antonio, where the old 150-year-old building that hosted the police station was partially demolished and new one is to be constructed.

Montague said: “Portland has been the safest parish over many, many years and there is a trend of murders going down in Portland, last year we had eight, the year before we had fifteen, so far this year we have one and we want to keep it at one. I am going to ask the churchmen to leave the building some time to go into the community to minister to those who don't go to church. Portland has always seen a reduction in all categories of crime; you measure crime in seven categories and Portland has seen a trending down in all categories except breakings; right across the country it is murder and shooting that is up but in Portland it is breakings that is up. We want you to have the numbers treading down".

We want to thank the prime minister for his initiative where he came up on this idea after we made some representation and the prime minister is committed to the fight against crime in this country and charged the NHT (National Housing Trust) to use some of their funds to treat with not only to building the housing schemes but to build a community.

He also disclosed that the NHT is investing in Port Antonio some $268 million to construct a building that will be approximately sixteen thousand square foot.

"They will be use up $50 million in this financial year and the rest in the next financial year because the build out time will not be completed until the next financial year as the building will not be completed in one financial year. It will have adequate parking. I am very proud today as the design and bill of quantities was done by members of the Jamaica Constable Force.

The NHT also contributed $100 million to the repairs of police stations in this financial year that we used along with some money from the amnesty to repair some thirty police stations across the length and breadth of Jamaica.

The minister pointed out that the repairs is done mainly to make the working conditions better as most of the police resign because of the working conditions. He spoke about the provision of new ballistic vest, mattresses, utilities and other amenities for police stations.

Repairs to motor vehicles and new ones, we bought four hundred and thirty motor vehicles and we repaired a hundred and fourteen. We have invested millions of dollars in the intelligence network; we have bought thirty dogs, twenty-four we already have, we have on order seven more dogs been specially trained in the United States for the detection of firearms and we have also ordered two additional dogs for tracking the 'duty criminals' when they run go to the bush. We have invested into the training capacity of the police force because I'm determined that we must employ an additional three thousand police officers to put on the streets because the eleven thousand police officers are overworked and we need an additional three thousand. We have bought rain coats and warm clothing for the police force and two new ships for the coast guard. The previous administration had started the Lafberry Barracks for the soldiers and we have continued that with some nine hundred million dollars. We have invested some seven hundred million in the forensic lab and we are building an annex costing a hundred and sixty million dollars and we have started the DNA registry. We have invested at PICA the facial recognition software and technology and we have seen over six hundred hits, persons with multiple passports and one hundred and four are before the courts and one person from London has eight passports.

We have the most modern forensic lab right here in the western hemisphere and we intend to purchase a new fleet of helicopters, a new surveillance aircraft to help to protect our borders and building out two new JDF base and recruiting two thousand more soldiers.

We need to police more smarter he said. We are looking to upgrade the police college to a degree granting institution the minister pointed out in his wide raging address.

Minister of Economic Growth and Job Creation MP Daryl Vaz said when the Prime Minister announced about the NHT helping police stations “I was quick on the draw and I got the NHT out here along with the police to do the necessary estimates and this police station is one of the first three that has been taken on and approved in this scheme and the most substantial amount of funds. The people and police have worked assiduously for decades to have the lowest crime rate”.

Vaz called for a new transportation plan for the town and a transport centre to be set up on the railway lands on West Street in Port Antonio.

He issued a warning for criminal elements coming into the parish that they will not be tolerated.

Member of Parliament for East Portland Dr Lynvale Bloomfield welcomed the new police station as he stated that this is an historic day as we have bemoaned the conditions under which the officers used to work under in keeping the facility due to the unhealthy conditions. We are grateful for this new structure as it will prevent criminality and keep our parish safe he said.

Everard Owen

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