Resources coming, but still not enough - ACP Budhoo
The St James police are poised to get additional manpower and vehicles by the end of this month to bolster their crime-fighting capacity and protect business investments in Montego Bay, the nation's tourism capital.
"We have gotten a commitment from our commissioner (Dr Karl Williams) that we will get 60 more personnel by the end of this month. We have gotten commitments from ... Minister Horace Chang (North West St James member of parliament)," said Senior Superintendent Steve McGregor, the com-mander for St James. "The commissioner will give us two vehicles, and Minister Chang has promised us four, and we have already gotten four out of the six.
"We are going to put in place a unit that will manage all the resources; and the Courtesy Corps Unit members, who are on the Hip Strip now, they are going to fall under my realm," said McGregor, who was speaking at a Gleaner mini-forum. "I will be able to put one police officer to two Courtesy Corps officers, so we are going to impact that tourism sector in a more wholesome way."
With stakeholders calling for more to be done so that crime will not deter potential investors, and, by extension, lessen Montego Bay's revenue-generating potential, the St James police plan to go all out to tame the parish's crime monster.
MATCH PARISH'S IMPORTANCE
Assistant Commissioner of Police Winchroy Budhoo, the Area One commanding officer, said that in order for the police to protect St James effectively, policing resources should match the parish's strategic importance in terms of investment and revenue generation.
"St James contributes over 10 per cent of [Jamaica's] gross domestic product," said Budhoo. "It has more investments than anywhere else, even if you put everything together; and with what takes place in Area One - in terms of the hotels and the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, and other investments - we cannot treat St James like how we treat it presently, as a normal parish."
"Kingston is divided into three divisions, and those three divisions have over 1,000 police. We only have 500 police here, with all these investments and the population and the problems that exist, so give us the resources," pleaded Budhoo.