Gov't wants to build out new JDF unit

Monday, February 11, 2019

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THE Government is eyeing a further build out of the Jamaica Defence Force's (JDF) new Maritime, Air and Cyber Command unit.

According to National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, over US$36 million has already been spent to acquire state-of-the-art aircraft for the division.

A Beechcraft King Air 350 WR maritime patrol aircraft and two Bell 429 helicopters were commissioned into service last November.

Chang indicated that the unit will get the additional resources needed to deal with border security.

He was speaking on the topic 'Revisiting Jamaica's Crime Plan' during The University of the West Indies Mona campus' Research Day panel discussion, at the Undercroft on February 7.

He said that the Government is seeking to provide the JDF with coastal radars, while assuring that “we are going to have an effective border patrol security in another 24 months”.

“If we are going to control the crime rate and control the flow of guns into this country, [we will have to invest]; it is going to cost a [significant sum] of money,” he emphasised.

Chang said focus will be placed on improving cyber security to ensure the country keeps pace with up to date safeguards against technology-driven illicit activities.

He also disclosed that the JamaicaEye national, closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance programme, geared towards improving public safety and disaster response, will be expanded this year.

Implemented in March 2018, JamaicaEye is a public-private partnership designed to network CCTV cameras owned by the ministry, and accommodate feed from privately owned cameras.

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