Chang: We will win crime war
With additional security assets being deployed and investments being made in boosting accommodation for the security forces in western Jamaica, the national security minister Dr Horace Chang is expressing confidence in containing the criminal mayhem that sparked a state of public emergency across three parishes.
“I Iook forward to working with the two JR (Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment) and the other elements of the security forces, the police, to ensure we restore and maintain public safety and good order in western Jamaica and undermine and continue to disrupt the gangs that really prove a threat to the people of this region,” Dr Horace Chang said at the opening ceremony for the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) Burke Barracks in Flankers, St James.
The minister said the security forces remain dedicated to their mission of reducing lawlessness in the island.
“I am confident that’s a battle we will win. It has its challenges, but the Government is committed to giving its support in making the required investment,” said Chang, adding that adequate infrastructure and programmes are needed to make a life of crime less attractive.
“The police force will have appropriate infrastructure, both equipment and personnel, and formations to ultimately destroy and disrupt the gangs that are a threat to our social stability and, at the same time, working through the JNSC (Jamaica National Service Corps) and other agencies of government to provide our young men and young women alternatives to criminal lifestyles.”
The new Burke Barracks, which is the first of two two-storey dormitory buildings equipped to accommodate 264 military personnel, forms part of an investment valued at $1.6 billion to house the members of the Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment, whose operations have been relocated from Up Park Camp in St Andrew to Flankers.
“This particular development started on June 1, 2018. There are two phases. The first, which is valued at some $708 million, involves land reclamation, the construction of this two-storey accommodation to house 264 personnel and the construction of a sewage treatment plant,” said Chang.
The security minister said a second building, which has similar amenities and is currently under construction, is valued at about $896 million.
Chang said the investment is the first phase of establishing a geographic command unit of Jamaica Defence Force, which will cover the parishes of St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover, St James and Trelawny.
The Government will further build out a base in Montpelier, St James, and other locations in the region, which will enable a more efficient approach in the JDF operations in western Jamaica, said Chang.