Mobile Reserve West still on the cards, says Dr Chang

Observer West reporter

Thursday, May 09, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The police unit which was to be dubbed Mobile Reserve West, and operate out of Montego Bay, will undergo a name change and manned by personnel from the new entity that will replace the decades-old Mobile Reserve, according to National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang.

Last year, Dr Horace Chang announced that $1.9 billion has been allocated for the construction of a new police complex in Montego Bay, St James.

The complex, he said, is slated to accommodate the setting-up of a permanent branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Mobile Reserve unit in Montego Bay.

But concerns have been raised about such a plan since the minister recently announced the winding up of Mobile Reserve.

“We are proceeding as planned. The institution will be built and the new team will be housed there,” Dr Chang told the Observer West earlier this week.

He made it clear that there will be no changes to the plans to establish the institution in St James, except a name change.

“We will call it something else so it will not affect the operations of the development of the centre up there [Montego Hills],” Dr Chang stated.

“We are disbanding what we have there [Mobile Reserve] and replacing it with something that will do the same work, with a new team of people essentially. We have to have quick response fully trained, fully equipped operation team, but the Mobile Reserve will basically be transformed.”

A new-look special police unit should be operational by the end of this year as part of major changes being implemented in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Dr Chang announced that Assistant Commissioner of Police Warren Clarke has been sent in to oversee the winding up of the Mobile Reserve.

Last year, the security minister revealed that the Mobile Reserve West unit would operate primarily in hot spots across western Jamaica and will be established with approximately 250 policemen and women.

He added that Government will be acquiring lands adjacent to the Montego Hills Police Station to construct a barracks to house the lawmen assigned to the unit.

Dr Chang, who is also Member of Parliament for St James North Western, also announced plans to upgrade the physical structure of the Montego Hills Police Station.

But, yesterday a taxi-operator expressed concerns that plans to construct the facility appears to be in limbo as there has been no visible work since the parcel of land was bulldozed following the announcement of the development last year.

“As you can see, the area start to grow up again and they promised that work would get underway by April,” the cabbie argued.

Dr Chang insisted, however, that plans to construct the facility are still being assiduously pursued.

“We moving quite aggressively,” the security minister stressed.

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