SAINT CATHERINE, Jamaica – The Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has committed 1 Billion dollars over the next four years to fund security initiatives as part of his Ministry’s efforts to support the Ministry of National Security’s drive to tackle crime.
He made the announcement as he addressed the Closing Ceremony for the first batch of graduates under the new District Constables Training Program, at the National Police College of Jamaica on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
Minister Bartlett in his keynote address underscored the importance of the partnership between the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) in boosting safety and security in the island’s resort areas.
Minister Bartlett said “today I want to make a new commitment to provide another billion dollars to the Ministry of National Security over the next four years. We have already identified some of the areas that we are going to work with you on and I know you have some areas that you want to put on the front burner. I think in collaboration with TPDCo and the TEF, in the next few weeks we will fine tune the arrangements as it relates to the allocation for specific items.”
He explained that “an emphasis on intelligence gathering and the better use of technology as a critical tool to drive greater detection and monitoring is critical in all of this and we will be partial in terms of our allocation to the acquisition of intelligence gathering equipment and boosting our ability to track the criminals, because they are not many.”
To date the Ministry through the TEF has invested over $1 billion dollars to support the efforts of the Ministry of National Security in fighting crime, which Minister Bartlett declared was money well spent. As he committed the additional funds he stressed that a partnership of this nature is critical if the tourism industry is to grow and meet the Ministry’s target of securing 5 million visitors and 5 Billion in earnings by 2021.
Minister Bartlett also underscored that the new District Constables Training Programme was funded by TEF to the tune of $106 million which covers training, uniforms, salaries and other resources. It will add an entirely new layer of security that will strengthen the formal security arrangements in resort communities and help to effectively tackle the issue of visitor harassment.
Minister of National Security Hon. Robert Montague expressed gratitude for this ongoing partnership with the Tourism Ministry, citing that it had yielded great success. Minister Montague underscored the benefits of the new training initiative which incorporates TPDCo’s flagship tourism training programme, ‘Team Jamaica’. He said “it served to increase not just the graduates’ proficiencies in crime fighting techniques but also to leverage the soft skills required to engage their tourism clientele – local and non-local alike.”
The 89 District Constables are to be deployed across prescribed areas and resort towns islandwide. Another 11 officers will be added to bring the initial complement to 100 by the end of the year and a total of 250 officers will be trained by 2018.