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CCTVs to guard 'Ochi'

Published:Monday | December 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Visitors shop in the town of Ocho Rios. Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
Crooks
Taylor
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Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

OCHO RIOS, St Ann:

Ocho Rios is to get closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) by December 15, the start of the winter tourist season, but without any contribution from the private sector, says Resort Board chairman, Dr Roosevelt Crooks.

Crooks said that after almost two years of "flogging" the business community trying to get them to buy into the video-surveillance system, which is pivotal to reducing tourist harassment in the resort town, it is the Government and its agencies funding the implementation.

"I received $72 million in total - $55 million from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), $15 million from the Ministry of National Security, $1 million from the Port Authority, and $1 million from the Urban Development Corporation," Crooks said during a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the Mystic Ridge in Ocho Rios last Wednesday.

Up to recently, there was a funding gap of $20 million, which was filled by a further disbursement from the TEF.

Covering all Entrances, Exits

CCTVs are expected to be placed from as far as the entrance at Dunn's River Falls to Main Street in the town, up to White River and looping back to Development Road (Ocho Rios bypass).

"We are covering all the entrances and exits," said Crooks.

Criticising the business community, while also taking blame for what he described as failure on his part, Crooks said, "We market ourselves for tourism, and we have international pursuits, and something as simple and mundane as CCTV, which is important to the security of the town, we couldn't convince the community to buy into."

In defence of the business community, Humphrey Taylor, a member of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, said one of the suggestions that was made to the Ministry of National Security was to put the infrastructure in and let each business buy the camera to hook into the system.

"We are willing to buy into the system, but the ministry was not in agreement with that suggestion," he stated.

In the meantime, Crooks has pointed out that the CCTVs will cut down on the amount of security personnel on the ground.

"We cannot police the harassers fast enough, we cannot catch them fast enough," he exclaimed, adding that there has been some improvement owing to the fact that Tourism Courtesy Corps could now cite persons who are in breach.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com