District constables being trained for resort towns
Seemingly unnerved by the killing of a Canadian tourist last weekend, the Government is rushing to introduce new security arrangements in tourist resort areas.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett yesterday announced that 87 district constables are being trained for deployment to resort towns.
In his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament, Bartlett said the district constables would function under a special arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, have policing powers, and will focus specifically on boosting safety and security in resort areas.
Bartlett said an additional 13 officers would be trained to bring the initial complement to 100 by the end of the year.
The tourism minister noted that while the Government will be taking steps to improve safety and security for visitors, the private security framework that hotels and other properties have should augment the administration's efforts.
He said the Ministry of National Security and the Tourism Product Development Company are working on a comprehensive security programme.
Last Friday, 35-year-old real-estate broker AndrÈ Palakia of Ontario, Canada, was shot and killed in the resort town of Negril.
The police reported that Palakia and his girlfriend were walking along the West End main road when two men approached on a motorcycle and attempted to rob his girlfriend. She resisted and the men opened fire.
Palakia, who was shot in the incident, was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The killing comes a little more than a month after Jamaica made international headlines with the slaying of two American Christian missionaries in Albion Mountain, St Mary.
According to the latest police statistics, more than 490 persons have been killed across the island since the start of the year.