JO - Ten new boats for marine police
Ten new boats for marine police
VAUGHN DAVIS, Observer staff reporter
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Security Minister Dr Peter Phillips (far left), Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas (3rd left) and other members of the police force take a test run on one of the ten 17-foot boats handed over to the Marine Police Division yesterday. (Photo: Karl McLarty)
GOVERNMENT's efforts to secure the island's borders received a significant boost yesterday after ten 17-foot Boston Whaler patrol boats were added to the fleet of the Marine Police Division.
The boats, which are the first instalment of a total of 40 boats to be acquired by the division over the next few months, are to be used in patrolling areas that are close to the Jamaican shoreline, as well as internal rivers. The boats are also expected to feature in assisting fisherfolk who get into difficulties while on the open sea.
The vessels will be deployed in Kingston, Negril, Port Antonio, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Black River.
Assistant Commissioner Paul Robinson, whose portfolio encompasses coastal security, noted that with the addition of the boats the police would be able to patrol areas that had previously proved problematic for them. He also told the Observer that the vessels would assist in providing security for cruise ships which will dock in the island during the staging of Cricket World Cup 2007.
The US$5-million contract for the 40 boats was signed on May 12 this year. Included among the 40 are a fleet of thirteen 27-foot patrol boats, and two 42-foot patrol boats. The 27-foot boats are expected to arrive in the island by the end of September, while the 42-foot boats are expected to arrive over the next four months.
The Ministry of National Security will also be acquiring two 38-foot patrol boats to add to the division's fleet.
Security Minister Peter Phillips, in an address at the brief handing-over ceremony, noted that the addition of the 10 boats was ushering in a new era for the Marine Police Division.
"In the reorganisation of the marine police we not only are assured of the highest levels of integrity and commitment from the men and women who serve, but they are also reviewing the range of geographic deployment that is available throughout Jamaica," Phillips said.
"We intend to protect our coastline from the activities of ruthless criminals,"
the minister added.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the government in acquiring modern
equipment and technologies for the JCF in the shortest possible time, maintaining, however, that the effort would go hand-in-hand with the resources available to the ministry.
Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas, who also addressed the gathering, said Jamaica was working with its international partners to guard against the misuse of the Jamaican coast by local and international criminals.
"Our co-ordinated approach, involving several branches of the JCF and the JDF, have dented the flow of drugs and guns in and out of the country. But the criminal underworld is strong andthey are regrouping and reinventing themselves and their strategies," he remarked.
The police commissioner also pledged to ensure that all the necessary avenues are explored in order to acquire and maintain modern facilities for the police force.