NEGRIL, Westmoreland — All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) used as part of the Negril police's crime-fighting efforts are expected to last longer with the donation of wash station dedicated to keeping them clean.
The ATVs are susceptible to corrosion and sand from beach patrols getting into their engines. The police station has been retrofitted with a ramp where the vehicles can be thoroughly washed and a cage has been installed to protect the equipment.
The donation was made by hotelier and former president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Richard Wallace. Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Gary McKenzie and other stakeholders have lauded Wallace and others who played a part in the project.
"The provision of this wash station is really not a simple thing. It is important to the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicles and I am quite sure that because of this wash [station] we will see the vehicles better maintained and they will last even longer," said the ACP. He was the guest speaker at the handover on Wednesday.
"This particular wash station, we will value it in a very big way. We will take care of the equipment and we will ensure that it will provide the service that it is here for," McKenzie assured.
"On behalf of the commissioner, myself, SSP [Wayne] Joseph and the entire JCF — and I'm quite sure the public will be pleased at the effort of the well-thinking citizens in providing a utility that will serve us well and help us in our enforcement," he added.
The donation of the wash station follows last year's acquisition by the Negril Chamber of two new ATVs for the town's police station. Cops have been using the vehicles to patrol Negril's famous stretch of beach and surrounding areas.
"Negril needs ATVs to function properly as a resort area. We have a seven-mile beach and it is difficult to patrol on foot, so we have also advocated for ATVs to be here," Wallace said of his reason for donating the wash station.
He added that when they were lobbying for ATVs for the resort town they also asked for a wash station to be installed; however, that did not happen, so he stepped up to fill the gap.
"We had to do some dumping and concrete work in putting this ramp here. We had to do some electrical and plumbing and we also built a cage to lock up the equipment. We bought the equipment as well, a 1,600 DSI pressure washer," he revealed.
The hotelier lauded his welder, electrician, plumber, wife and other stakeholders who made the project a success.
"[I want to] reinforce the point that if we as Jamaicans think about giving back a little to our country instead of taking all the time… Jamaica will be a better place," Wallace encouraged.
"You don't have to be a multinational, multimillion-dollar company that's making tonnes of money before you can say, let me give back," he added.
Wallace also donated an air-conditioning unit to the traffic department.
Director, visitor safety and experience at Tourism Product Development Corporation (TPDCO), Daryl Whyte-Wong pointed out that proper care had already helped them to extend the lifespan of ATVs from the typical three years to seven. He anticipates that they will last even longer now.
President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Elaine Allen-Bradley was also among those who weighed in on the difference the properly cared for ATVs will make in the resort area.
"We have been struggling from a long time to get things to improve the resort, and this is one of the first times we've collaborated and achieved the ATVs," she said.
Allen-Bradley was also full of praise for Wallace and all who helped him install the wash station.
"The Negril Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to see this as we need to see safety and security here for our guests. Not just our guests but for all the stakeholders that live in Negril. I am so pleased to see the maintenance side," she added.