SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth – Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang and the ministry’s permanent secretary, Courtney Williams, say closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in this south-central town are to be connected to the national surveillance system, JamaicaEye, in the coming weeks.
The assurance follows a story published by the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday, headlined ‘Cameras in busy Santa Cruz not connected’.
Williams said he signed a contract on Wednesday to have the CCTV cameras in Santa Cruz functional.“There were some issues we had to work out with the telecom provider, all of that has been sorted out now. I expect that within a matter of weeks all the connectivities will be in place and it will be up and running and there won’t be any issue,” he added.Councillor Christopher Williams (Jamaica Labour Party, Santa Cruz Division) had called on the Government to urgently connect the cameras to JamaicaEye, following a spate of armed robberies in Santa Cruz.Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth North Eastern Delroy Slowley on Thursday said, “the functionality of the cameras must be addressed instantaneously”.Dr Chang said the work to connect the cameras to JamaicaEye should begin “anytime now”.He added that a review of JamaicaEye is being done to repair non-functional cameras across the country.“I am aware that cameras breakdown from time to time. The turnaround time to get them back up is unfortunately too long. We have cameras in the main urban centres – Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, the Corporate Area, Spanish Town. The maintenance is sometimes challenging, but we are in the process of reviewing that programme and should correct that problem,” he told journalists at Thursday’s ground-breaking ceremony for the new $200-million Lacovia Police Station, west of Santa Cruz.“I want [cameras] restored within the quickest possible time, but of course, it depends on the damage, if they (thieves) cut the main cables, it takes a couple of days to get the cable [repaired],” Chang said, in reference to vandalism on telecom networks.Dr Chang said JamaicaEye is vital to the technological capabilities of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.“We are reviewing how we maintain those cameras because we need them to work. Where they work they have to perform extremely well and the permanent secretary is now working with the technical team to put in place a much better timeframe to restore them when they get damaged,” he said.“JamaicaEye is a critical part of our technology infusion in the police force and what we are also examining is how we can build out the JamaicaEye structure much faster than how we are now doing. It is expensive, but it gives an extremely high rate of return in terms of policing,” the minister said.