Announcement of new Port Maria police station 'big motivation' for cops

Announcement of new Port Maria police station 'big motivation' for cops

Senior staff reporter

Monday, February 17, 2020

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Sub-officer in charge of the Port Maria Police Station Sergeant Rochelle McGibbon-Scott says the new multimillion, four-storey police station to be constructed in the St Mary capital is one of the “biggest motivational factors” for herself and colleagues.

Ground was broken on Friday, February 7 for construction of the new facility, first reported on by Jamaica Observer North & East in April 2018.

“Under the circumstances that we have been holding strain over the years, for now to be told that we are getting a new building, eventually, speaks volumes to the commitment from the members in terms of holding it together.

“And so I can tell you that they are highly motivated. They are looking forward to moving into this building. Even now they are sort of pre-empting what the building is going to look like, how they are going to be moving in even before the actual structure start, so I think it is a good thing. It's boosting their morale and, as I said, they are really looking forward to moving into this new structure,” the sergeant told Observer North & East during an interview at the Port Maria Police Station last Thursday.

The facility, which is expected to cost $60 million, is to be built by the National Housing Trust on Main Street in the town. Work is scheduled for completion in 2023.

It will replace the previous station which was damaged by fire several years ago, resulting in police officers assigned to that post having to be housed at several locations.

Construction is expected to begin on March 3.

Currently, the Port Maria Police Station is located in a building which once housed a credit union.

“The fact that our barrack area is a little distance away from the station tells you, so they [officers] would have to drive a little bit outside of the town to have themselves refreshed and to change their uniform and to come back down for work. That in itself was sort of a deterrent, not having the barrack area on the building to sort of ease the pressure — that was a major complaint for us. And, of course, the structure of where we are now it was never really structured for a police station and so with that, we had to put in partitions and sort of make do with what we actually had,” said McGibbon-Scott.

Commanding officer for the St Mary Police Division Superintendent Bobette Morgan-Simpson, who has been working in the parish since December 2017, said most of the stations in the parish were in a state of disrepair when she arrived.

She said the announcement of the new police station has lifted the spirits of lawmen who, for some time, have been working in less than ideal conditions.

“Islington, as we speak, is under renovation. Annotto Bay is now a very beautiful police station in comparison to what it was some time ago, so it has been fully renovated — both the lock-up and the station itself. Highgate is maybe 95 per cent complete in terms of its renovation. Gayle is getting a new station and to top it all, Port Maria and the division headquarters is getting a new top-of-the-line facility in terms of the amenities and the structure that is portrayed by the plan.

“Being in command of a division where persons have decent working conditions, it is encouraging to the members and it makes me feel much better, because it's easier for me to motivate and to get the staff going when they're at least in decent surroundings and facilities to work in,” the senior cop, who was also interviewed, told North & East.

Several of the stations across the parish, Morgan-Simpson shared, are infested with termites and rodents, and the roofs are in need of repairs. She said, too, that a number of the stations lack furniture and that several are currently without a sickbay or canteen.

“They [officers] have been making do with what they have because they don't really have a choice. So, I really lift my hat to my team for some of the stations and conditions under which they work,” she said.

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