Jamaica’s borders are now more secure following the commissioning into service of a surveillance aircraft acquired by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Andrew Holness says the investment in the new aircraft demonstrates the Government’s commitment to secure Jamaica.
Speaking at the Commissioning Ceremony for the Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Hangar and Helicopters at the JDF Air Wing Manley Base today (Wednesday, November 14), Prime Minister Holness said the acquisition of the fleet of aircraft for the JDF is historic and a demonstrable step that the Government is securing Jamaica’s future for the present and generations to come.
“What we are doing here today, is ensuring that we make an investment in securing our borders, increasing our domain awareness not just because it sounds great but because it will have a practical effect for the man on the street in Jamaica. You will see crime going down in your communities as a result of this investment. But more than that, it also signals Jamaica’s intention to do more with our blue economy,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, the Prime Minister explained that Jamaica must utilise available assets to combat crime.
“There is a plan to secure Jamaica, regardless of what anyone says. What is clear, day by day, is that the plan is unfolding, and you are seeing more than just the unfolding. You are seeing results. The Government continues to be strategic with its intent,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister declared that the Government will not allow any threats to weaken the state.
“We are also spending considerable resources in improving the policy framework and legislative framework in which assets like these will operate. These assets must never become a threat to the law- abiding citizens. They must always be used to protect and secure the law-abiding citizens and therefore the legislative framework and the policy framework is such to safeguard and ensure that the rights of citizens are always protected,” stressed Prime Minister Holness.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister underscored that Jamaica has a critical role in securing its “neighbourhood” within the Caribbean. This, regarding the attention paid to the issue of climate change and resilience security in CARICOM.
“Jamaica intends to cooperate and collaborate with its traditional partners even more than we do now but also within CARICOM to ensure that the Caribbean region itself is secure and with the considerations of climate change we also have to consider the ability to respond to natural disasters. These assets will also give us some capabilities in that regard. It is an investment in our security, it’s an investment in our economy and it is also an investment in our resilience as a small island state,” declared Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister used the opportunity to commend the men and women of the JDF and expressed that the investments in security should leave every Jamaican feeling confident and proud of the security forces.
“Increased security has significant economic benefits for Jamaica. It is the foundation of our plan to develop Jamaica into a place of choice to live, work, do business, raise your families and as I always like to add – retire in paradise,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The JDF commissioned a King Air 350 aircraft and two of 9 Bell 429 Helicopters which will be used for border patrol, rescue efforts and security.