New JDF aerial fleet a commitment to security, says PM

Thursday, November 15, 2018

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The Government yesterday commissioned into service a new surveillance aircraft, two of nine Bell 429 helicopters, and a maritime patrol aircraft hangar, an investment that Prime Minister Andrew Holness said demonstrates his Administration's commitment to secure the island.

“What we are doing here today is ensuring that we make an investment in securing our borders, increasing our domain awareness not just because it sounds great but because it will have a practical effect for the man on the street in Jamaica,” Holness, who is also the defence minister, said at the commissioning ceremony at the Jamaica Defence Force Air Wing Manley Base at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston

“You will see crime going down in your communities as a result of this investment. But more than that, it also signals Jamaica's intention to do more with our blue economy,” added Holness.

“There is a plan to secure Jamaica, regardless of what anyone says. What is clear, day by day, is that the plan is unfolding, and you are seeing more than just the unfolding. You are seeing results. The Government continues to be strategic with its intent,” the prime minister said, adding that the Government will not allow any threats to weaken the State.

“We are also spending considerable resources in improving the policy framework and legislative framework in which assets like these will operate,” he said. “These assets must never become a threat to the law-abiding citizens. They must always be used to protect and secure the law-abiding citizens and therefore the legislative framework and the policy framework are to safeguard and ensure that the rights of citizens are always protected.”

Pointing out that Jamaica has a critical role in securing its “neighbourhood” within the Caribbean, Holness said: “Jamaica intends to cooperate and collaborate with its traditional partners even more than we do now, but also within Caricom to ensure that the Caribbean region itself is secure, and with the considerations of climate change we also have to consider the ability to respond to natural disasters. These assets will also give us some capabilities in that regard. It is an investment in our security, it's an investment in our economy, and it is also an investment in our resilience as a small island state.”

The prime minister used the opportunity to commend the men and women of the JDF and said that the investments in security should leave every Jamaican feeling confident and proud of the security forces.

“Increased security has significant economic benefits for Jamaica. It is the foundation of our plan to develop Jamaica into a place of choice to live, work, do business, raise your families and, as I always like to add, retire in paradise,” said Holness.

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