Gov’t acquires surveillance plane, 2 helicopters to secure border

While he commissioned two surveillance helicopters and a surveillance aircraft into service yesterday,  Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the gesture is tangible proof that his government is investing in border protection.

The Beechcraft King Air 350ER Maritime Patrol aircraft, along with two Bell 429 helicopters, was acquired for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

They will be housed at the newly established Maritime Air and Cyber Command at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

Prime Minister Holness, along with JDF Chief of Defence Staff Major General Rocky Meade, yesterday cut the ribbon to officially open the new hangar.

The Beechcraft King Air 350ER Maritime Patrol aircraft, which was acquired along with two Bell 429 helicopters

The prime minister said his government remains strategic in curbing crime, noting that the plan involves ongoing collaboration with the country’s partners and the sharing of information as deemed necessary.

“I want each [person] to feel confident that the Government is making the investment in all spheres of security to ensure that you the citizens of Jamaica can feel safe,” he said.

Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Andrew Holness (centre), and Chief of Defence Staff Major General Rocky Meade, unveil a plaque commemorating the commissioning of the new Maritime Patrol Aircraft Hangar at newly established Maritime Air and Cyber Command. Looking on is the Unit’s Commander, Captain Antoinette Weymss Gorman.

Prime Minister Holness added: “To get to that safety in the home, you have to ensure that you are protecting your maritime space, your cyberspace, your financial architecture and systems…your telecommunications systems and your road networks…

“As we invest in these new assets, which are technologically advanced, we also make sure of protecting the rights of the citizens of Jamaica,” the prime minister further said.

The Bell 429 helicopters, which along with a Beechcraft King Air 350 ER Maritime Patrol aircraft, have been acquired for the JDF newly established Maritime Air and Cyber Command. Yhomo Hutchinson Photos

He noted that the security threats to Jamaica “are not simple” and the perpetrators “are not street-level criminals” but “people with significant resources [who] have international links”.

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