Security forces intact, says Phillips
October 15, 2002
NATIONAL SECURITY Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, in an address to the nation last night, assured the nation that the security forces are prepared to deal with any eventualities that may arise on Election Day.
"I would like to assure you that the security forces are fully prepared for election day. They have been equipped with all necessary re-sources to keep the peace," Dr. Phillips said.
He urged Jamaicans "not to allow criminality to mask itself as political support for one party or another and retard the work of the security forces." Dr. Phillips pointed to the recent joint statement from Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga, which asserted that "apart from some regrettable clashes between rival supporters on the campaign trail, criminal groups have taken advantage of the fact that the security forces are occupied during this campaign period, to unleash violence to settle scores against their enemies."
The Security Minister, who is running on the People's National Party (PNP) ticket in the St. Andrew East Central constituency, noted that there was a "declining trend in crime and violence" with the murder rate down 14 per cent, or 124 fewer deaths than for the corresponding period last year.
The police reported last night that 777 people, including 14 policemen, have been murdered since the start of the year.
On the readiness of the security forces, Dr. Phillips disclosed that $100 million has been allocated to the security effort for Election Day. He pointed to the recent acquisition of 100 cars for the police and the leasing of five helicopters from Puerto Rico to give the security forces the ability to respond quickly.
Additionally, all relevant Govern-ment agencies have been instructed to make available to the security forces whatever they require. The Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) has been equipped with video cameras to cover activities and events in each parish. Protective gear has been supplied to front-line police officers and 500 mobile radios have been allocated to ensure adequate communication facilities.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will work alongside the police and a joint operations centre has been established