FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Shortly after Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller opened and toured a new state-of-the-art police station in Falmouth on Wednesday, a woman from the town accidentally locked herself inside one of the cells and had to spend the night because the key to the door was in Kingston.
The woman was freed early yesterday morning after a deputy superintendent drove to Kingston Wednesday night to get the key.
The Jamaica Observer was told that the official opening and tour of the facility ended late Wednesday evening. After the prime minister's departure, the Falmouth woman, out of curiosity, went into one of the cells and slammed the door shut.
But the key to the new cell door, which was automatically locked, was not handed over to the Falmouth police and was among others left in Kingston.
The tearful woman was freed from the cell minutes after 1:00 yesterday morning after the deputy superintendent returned to the north coast town, armed with the key.
During Wednesday's opening ceremony, the prime minister expressed gratitude to the people of Venezuela and their late president, Hugo Chavez, for their support of Jamaica with the PetroCaribe Fund, which provided the $270-million to build the Falmouth Police Station.
"It is interesting he passed yesterday (Tuesday) and we are opening the police station today (Wednesday)," Simpson Miller said.
"A friend in need is a friend indeed. He was a friend, not only of Jamaica, but of the Caribbean region," she said.
Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said the new station, which will be the first to have a building manager and a maintenance team, will not only serve the Falmouth police, but will also be the headquarters for a number of police teams and functions in the Police Area One, which encompasses the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
The police commissioner disclosed that the new structure will serve as a permanent base for a contingent of personnel from the Mobile Reserve, and house a major investigation team, similar to two others, one in Kingston and the other in St Catherine.
Commissioner Ellington disclosed also that the facility is expected to provide accommodation for a regional recruiting centre, as well as a regional conference and training room for the police in Area One.
He also said that a regional branch of CISOCA, a marine division, and a K-9 division will also be based at the Falmouth station.
The barracks at the facility are capable of providing accommodation for 200 police personnel and 50 inmates in the cells.
Ground was broken for the construction of the police station on more than one occasion, dating back to 2000, by then security minister KD Knight.
In 2011, Bruce Golding, who was then the prime minister and minister of defence, mandated the Jamaica Defence Force to complete the construction of the station, which was dogged by myriad challenges.