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Used-car bids for police are in - JUCDA cites potential savings of $600m

Published:Wednesday | October 19, 2016 | 10:00 AMSteven Jackson
A wrecked police car is seen August 4, 2016 following an accident in Kingston. The National Security Ministry will be replenishing the police fleet with pre-owned vehicles in a switch from the usual policy of procuring new models. The bids for 200 pre-owned vehicles closed last Friday.
Lynvalle Hamilton, president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association.
Kent LaCroix, chairman of the Automobile Dealers Association.
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The Jamaican Government can save upwards of $600 million on capital expenditure if it follows through on the acquisition of pre-owned vehicles for the police force, according to Lynvalle Hamilton, president of the Jamaica Used Car Dealers Association.

It comes as the Ministry of National Security just closed bids for the procurement of 200 pre-owned vehicles for the Jamaica Constabulary Force's fleet.

The tender closed last Friday, following an extension because of the approach of Hurricane Matthew. The number of bids received was not ascertained.

It's the largest tender for pre-owned vehicles for the JCF, and a switch in procurement policy. The fleet for the police is usually replen-ished by new models.

"The Government is strapped for cash, and if they went in the direction of buying new vehicles, it would be expensive, as one new vehicle costs the price of two or three pre-owned vehicles," Hamilton told Gleaner Business on Tuesday from his AutoChannel car dealership.

The Ministry of National Security invited qualified pre-owned motor vehicle dealers to supply pre-owned motor vehicles not older than five years, preferably 2012 models, for use by the JCF. The ministry wants 80 sedan patrol cars and 120 double-cab pickups.

"Depending on the vehicles they choose, they could save a lot," Hamilton said then responded to Gleaner estimates. "It's not easy to estimate, but $600 million, yes - or even more - depending on the used cars they buy."

 

'ATTRACTIVE' TENDER

 

Kent LaCroix, chairman of the Automobile Dealers Association, a group of new-car dealerships, described the tender as "attractive" and that it could have resulted in new-car dealers seeking to apply by aligning with pre-owned-car dealers.

"Something like this tender could see them forging an alliance with someone and putting in a bid," he said, while not stating whether any alliances occurred in actuality.

LaCroix, who is group special projects manager at Stewart Motors, a new-car dealership, says that while he sees the utility in pre-owned vehicles, new vehicles should be the preferred choice for the police force.

"There are pitfalls with used vehicles, because the force will need to use them 24 hours a day, and the vehicles have to be in tip-top condition," he said.

The Jamaican Government announced the switch to used cars for the constabulary back in March during a town-hall meeting in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, where Minister of National Security Robert Montague was reported by state media JIS as saying his ministry could buy 400 used cars for the price of 100 new cars.

The used vehicles are to last for at least three years, said Montague.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com