Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Chang: Fallen cops monument slated for Police Plaza

Security minister says Gov’t remains committed to long-delayed police HQ plans

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2024 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
A section of the nearly 40-acre lot in a section of Trench Town, St Andrew, called No Man’s Land, where the Police Plaza is to be built.
A section of the nearly 40-acre lot in a section of Trench Town, St Andrew, called No Man’s Land, where the Police Plaza is to be built.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang says a monument to honour fallen police officers, especially those who have died on duty, will be erected as part of the delayed Police Plaza in Kingston.

The commitment came following concerns raised by delegates at the recent annual joint central conference of the Jamaica Police Federation as cops paid tribute to 31 colleagues, including four who died while on duty, who died over the past year, from May 1, 2023 and May 20 this year.

According to Chang, his ministry has received two proposals – one for the establishment a monument for fallen policemen and women.

He revealed said it was proposed that the monument be erected on the Kingston waterfront, which he reasoned was not quite suitable, given the transformation now taking place in that space.

However, the national security minister points to the 40-acre so-called No Man’s Land in St Andrew Souther, where a proposed Police Plaza has been earmarked for construction, as a more appropriate location.

He said the second proposal was not yet fully developed, but stressed that despite the delay in the start of construction, the Government remains committed to the Police Plaza project.

“We have acquired the property. It will cost a lot of money, but we are committed to doing it, whatever it costs,” Chang said.

“It is not just a matter of placing a monument with names on it anywhere. The record of our police officers who have died, especially those while on duty, is well established and an appropriate monument that has the impact and timeliness is what is required,” Chang declared.

In 2020, Culture Minister Olivia Grange announced that the Cabinet had approved the construction of a monument at the National Heroes Park to honour cops who have been killed in the line of duty.

The planned Police Plaza was announced by Chang in his 2019-2020 Sectoral Debate contribution. It was described as a “built-for-purpose” headquarters for the Jamaica Constabulary Force that would accommodate over 2,500 police officers, and house all the non-geographic formations of the specialised units, such as Narcotics, National Intelligence Bureau (NIB), and the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation (C-TOC) branch. It would also be accessible to residents.

Chang told the policemen and women at the conference that the delay in starting the construction of the proposed facility was due largely to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as government resources were redirected to healthcare services.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com