Utilise the JDF Air Wing
A Jamaica Defence Force aircraft

Dear Editor,

If I were the commander of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing, I would lobby for an increase in its budget to purchase more planes and aerial recon equipment to help in the fight against drugs and guns and to patrol our maritime routes.

Criminals find it easier to conduct transactions off the shores of Jamaica than attempt to smuggle their illegal goods past customs at the airports or seaports. Most likely, for every gun and bullet that gets nabbed at the airport, 10 more make it through Jamaica via offshore meet-ups and makeshift airstrips.

When I was an Aviation Club member we went on a trip to the JDF Air Wing base at Norman Manley International Airport and saw their assortment of aircraft, such as the Diamond DA42 aeroplanes. Their main maritime patrol aircraft was the Beechcraft Super King Air.

Instead of having just one maritime patrol craft, why not purchase multiple Diamond DA42 aeroplanes, train more pilots, and use those as medium- to long-range patrol aircraft to do maritime patrol in every sector of Jamaica's territorial waters and aid the Jamaica Coast Guard and the maritime police to not only carry out drug and gun busts before the contraband reaches the island but to also patrol protected areas to spot fishermen who violate the protected area boundaries?

Instead of one aircraft doing maritime patrol there would be at least six planes patrolling the waters and the island to spot areas in which a small plane could land to avoid using the major aerodromes and airports.

Marcus White


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