St James Parish Council awaits word on MoBay security cameras
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
The St James Parish Council is awaiting words from the Korean Export Import Bank and the Korean Government on its request for a grant or loan funding to install a US$15-million Integrated Operation Control Centre Project (security system) in Montego Bay. "The project will involve the installation of security cameras at strategic points across the city," Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Glendon Harris, told The Gleaner in an interview earlier this week. "This, we believe, will significantly impact on criminal activities, resulting in a marked reduction. The council will be the headquarters for the project, while the St James police will also have their own monitoring system."
According to the mayor, the reduction of criminal activities would spur investment from which jobs would be created and the local economy boosted.
Mayor Harris said that while the system would primarily be used for crime monitoring and reduction activities, it would also assist those involved in disaster mitigation to deal with flooding and other natural disasters.
"The system will also assist us in traffic management and to monitor other everyday activities, especially in the centre of the city. We are optimistic that this system will help us to bring some order to the chaos which prevails in some areas," said Harris. " ... We are working to bring order to this city."
The mayor said the parish council had decided to seek grant funding based on the tight fiscal space within which the Government had been operating. He said some of the areas to be targeted for cameras included Gloucester Avenue (the Hip Strip), Sam Sharpe Square and its environs, and Barnett Street and St James Street.
"My personal ambition is to make Montego Bay the best place to live, work and raise families, in keeping with the 2030 vision," said Harris. "This is one initiative that will help me and the parish council to achieve that goal."
Mayor Harris also told The Gleaner that the parish council's technocrats were poring over the draft of the Emerging Sustainable City Initiative Development Order for Montego Bay, which is being done by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
"We are now in possession of the draft and we are looking at it and assessing it so that by the end of September, we should be finished ... meaning that we would have added our recommendation and suggestions and returned it to the IDB for approval," Harris said.
The mayor said the development order would inform how the city moves forward with investment and developmental activities.