Prime Minister Andrew Holness, on Friday July 24, officially opened the new Port Antonio Police station and Portland Divisional Headquarters in Portland.
The Prime Minister, in his keynote address, asserted that the Government is committed to creating a better working environment for the police.
“The Government values the tremendous contribution of our security forces. We recognize the immense challenges they face, and we are committed to creating a safer, healthier, and secure working environment for our police force as it pursues its mission to serve, to protect, and to reassure,” said Prime Minister Holness.
As part of the Government’s focus on law enforcement, public safety and security and crime reduction, several initiatives to enhance and bolster the effectiveness and efficiency of the Jamaica Constabulary Force have been undertaken.
According to Prime Minister Holness, the Port Antonio Police Station is one of many projects completed. A record 103 of 186 police stations have been improved, upgraded, refurbished, or reconstructed over the last four years.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness noted that the Port Antonio Police Station is one in which residents will take great pride in.
“This building that you are looking at here is an edifice of authority. It is well built and well designed, it will improve the comfort and functionality and the abilities of those who use it. When you pass it as a citizen, you also feel good to see improvements in public infrastructure, you will take pride in it, and your officers will take pride in it. Once everyone starts to take pride in the infrastructure, you will start to see a change in how people interrelate,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The new station and divisional headquarters was constructed at a cost of 104 million dollars, 92 million dollars of this amount has been spent so far.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister acknowledged Portland as one of the safest parishes in Jamaica, attributing this to the culture of the people. In that regard, he encouraged Portlanders to continue working with the police to keep the peace.
“There is a view in the society that peace is the responsibility of the police alone, as if the citizen has no responsibility for the state of their affairs, that the citizen is powerless to address the situations that they face. A truly safe country is when the citizen is the warden of peace,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister also stated that upgrading infrastructure such as police stations will have a positive impact on how the citizen relate to the police which will consequently lead to decreasing levels of crime and violence.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister has given directives to the National Works Agency to find the best alignment to build a bypass road for the town of Port Antonio. He said this will provide the Government with options for further land development in the area.