National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, is assuring that the Government will be investing in the improvement of infrastructure at police stations to create suitable working conditions for the men and women of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
Addressing a speakers’ meeting of the Lions Club of Kingston, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on February 6, Dr. Chang said in this regard, the “building out of the security architecture” will be reflected in the 2019/20 Budget to be tabled in Parliament on February 14.
The Minister reasoned that such investments to fix and repair police stations are usually expensive and could cost approximately $5 billion to $6 billion.
“We must give the police decent police stations to work in. We cannot have a young man who sits at a desk, and there is a three-legged chair, or the police station has to be locked down because the sewage is leaking from the back or there is a risk of the workers getting leptospirosis because the station is rat-infested,” the Minister said.
“We cannot demand the performance of our officers at the levels we want or hold them accountable unless we do better,” he added.
Dr. Chang told the meeting that the Government continues to consciously invest in the security forces and last year committed approximately $11 billion, making this “one of the most significant (spends) in capital expenditure”.
“We still have to catch up with the modern requirements, such as cybersecurity and technology, to increase capacity and ensure we can provide our citizens with a safe environment both at their home and public spaces. That is where we are going,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Dr. Chang indicated that improvements have been made at the community level in St. James, North St. Catherine and sections of the Corporate Area where States of Public Emergency were declared.
He said in those communities, residents have a sense of comfort and confidence, as persons are able to go out and come in at nights, “as the firing of guns at nights have stopped and parents can go to bed and know their children will get home”.
For her part, Lions Club of Kingston President, Julette Parkes-Livermore, said the purpose of the speakers’ meeting is to bring together knowledgeable individuals to discuss matters of significance.