Jamaica Observer:-National Security Minister Robert Montague is promising that the country will see fundamental changes in the Government’s fight against crime during the course of 2017.
Montague, who was speaking at the annual devotion service of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) on Tuesday, also listed a number of measures to boost the capabilities of the JCF.
“It won’t be business as usual, it will be business unusual. Yes, 2016 had its challenges, but I am happier and excited about 2017,” he said. “This is the year… when changes are going to come. It is the year when we are going to confront some things, talk some truths and make some people uncomfortable. We are going to disrupt some criminal forces. Dutty criminal going run weh.”
Montague then listed some of the proposed initiatives.
The Government is going to acquire 200 more police vehicles, as well as the procurement of two boats to patrol the nation’s coastline, which is to come on stream by January 21, plus a surveillance plane will be purchased later down in the year to help patrol the coastline.
“The south coast will be given top priority with the establishment of marine posts in Old Harbour and Alligator Pond.
“There will be an expansion of the CCTV (Close Circuit Television) network across the island and the plan is to integrate them all into one system. The system is already in four towns and more cameras will be coming soon. We are also going to be establishing a national backroom so that private persons with CCTVs can send in their feed to the police and we are going to put in a video analytic suite so that we can do facial recognition, geo-fencing and licence plate reading, so that you can know when last you see a man and where him turn up and what he was wearing,” Minister Montague said.
He indicated that the Government will invest heavily in intelligence, which he stated must lead the operations of the security forces. He then announced that 40 members of the police force will be sent to Cuba to be trained.
There are also changes to be made to the bail, fingerprint and firearm acts.
“We don’t make guns in Jamaica, nor bullets, and the message must be clearly sent that whenever you take up a firearm you’re going to spend a long, long time in prison.
“Further, licensed firearm holders will be required to account for each of the 50 bullets that they are given annually.
“We have 40,000 licensed firearm holders in this country, and each of them get 50 rounds per year; 50 times 40,000 that’s two million rounds. If 10 per cent get into illegal hands, that’s a dangerous amount. If the police have to account for every bullet that they have, the private firearm holder must also be required to do the same,” Montague said.
The minster also noted that he will be turning up the heat on praedial thieves and motorcyclists. As it relates to motorcyclists he said the regulation will be amended and they will be required to wear their helmets, which will have registration numbers on the back and front.