Clinton Pickering – Freelance Writer
Montego Bay now has a Motorized Patrol Unit which has been charged “to lock down” the city from criminals.
“We must be able to lock the city, as I’ve been saying overtime. Therefore, persons who are of ill intent who come into our town centre to commit crime, or to be of ill repute, will have to think twice because they know that if they commit a crime the chances of them getting away outside of the city will be little or none.”
Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Area One, Donovan Graham, instructed members of the Motorized Patrol Unit with those words as they faced him in the car park of the Montego Bay Sports Complex last Friday morning. “So I’m charging you today to be the agent of change; to be the guardians of the city of Montego Bay because Operation Restore Paradise was launched some weeks ago (but) after you have restored the paradise, we must be in a position to secure the paradise and this is what we are about this morning,” he went on.
The unit, which is equipped with a fleet of motorcars and motor cycles, was told by ACP Graham, “You are very, very important in ensuring that the people of Montego Bay (and) the visitors to Montego Bay are assured of their security, are assured of their safety, and if this unit does exceedingly well, then we will find that the rippling effect of the information that Montego Bay, St James, is a safe and secure area, will allow more visitors to come; it will allow more money to come into the coffers of the government, it will allow us to get more resources.”
The need for more resources was evidenced by the fact that the newly-formed unit is using equipment taken from existing fleet in the division, but ACP Graham said this was because of time constraints and new vehicles would be assigned to ensure that the unit is effective, “to ensure that we can deliver and secure the people and visitors.”
He assured them that the initiative had the support of former Minister of National Security, Robert Montaque; the current minister, Dr Horace Chang; Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson “and they have committed to me that resources will come to ensure that this unit is properly staff and resourced.”
Of the men, he said he was looking forward to their commitment and discipline “to ensure that at the end of the day, we are efficient, we are able to deliver at a high level. Service delivery from this unit must be the hallmark of the day.”
Montego Bay Mayor, Homer Davis, hailed the launch of the operation as a special day for the city, stating, “There’s no doubt that the city of Montego Bay needs special attention.”
Agreeing with St James Divisional Commander, Supt. Vernon Ellis, he said under operation Restore Paradise “we have restored quite a lot; we have brought back a semblance of compliance as it relates to persons who operate business.” However, Mayor Davis said there was the need to deal with the problem of persons of ill repute “traversing our streets as if they are in their bedrooms. They carry whatever illegal things that they have on them in a way as if they are not in a state that is secure.”
His charge to the squad was, “I expect you to give of your best but in giving of your best, and doing your best, observe the rights of citizens.” Having told them that he once wore their uniform and therefore had some knowledge of police operations, he said, “Policing, like anything else, you give a bucket of milk and one little thing it’s as if you haven’t done anything. I know it’s a challenging job you have; people are very disrespectful but what you must at all times do is maintain your composure and be firm at what you are doing.”