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Opposition says CCTV surveillance is affordable

Balford Henry

Thursday, February 06, 2014    

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COUNCILLOR Duane Smith, the newly appointed Opposition junior spokesman on science, ICT, digital society development and the environment, believes that cost should not be an obstacle to introducing a closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system to support crime fighting.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer following a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) On/Off the Record press briefing at the party's Belmont Road headquarters in St Andrew on Monday, Councillor Smith said that implementation of the system would not be as costly as suggested by some stakeholders, including the police.

He pointed out that the fibre- optic network built by telecoms provider LIME and Flow were funded by the Government's Universal Access Fund, which is financed by the same Internet provided, and could become a platform for islandwide CCTV coverage.

"CCTV is easily compatible with the fibre-optic cables run by both Flow and LIME underground, so the Government wouldn't have to run new cables. It has access to these networks, by virtue of the fact that they were paid for by the access fund, and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) Act amendment of 1968, under section 24 (4), also gives the Government access to these fibre-optic networks, at no cost," Smith said.

"It is basically low budget or virtually free, way below the billions of dollars which had been suggested by the police in looking at the use of the system to boost traffic regulating. So, the main cost to the Government in introducing the surveillance network would be in terms of cameras and software," he explained.

Smith said he fully supported the call made by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness for the Government to look urgently at introducing an extensive CCTV surveillance system to support the police in fighting crime and violence in the country, at the party's

Area Council One meeting at the Olympic Gardens Civic Centre recently.

He also noted that the police have been expressing agreement with the introduction of such a system, following initial concerns about the cost expressed by former head of its traffic department, Senior Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, in implementing the system to support road traffic operations.

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