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Government mulls import duty waiver on CCTV cameras - JamaicaEye the thread that will tie crime strategy

Published:Thursday | March 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Minister of National Security Robert Montague (right) in discussion with incoming Commissioner of Police Major General (ret'd) Antony Anderson at the launch of the JamaicaEye initiative at National Indoor Sports Complex, Arthur Wint Drive, on Wednesday.

National Security Minister Robert Montague says that his ministry is currently undertaking negotiations with the Ministry of Finance to have the General Consumption Tax, import duties, and the Special Consumption Tax waived for a limited time to allow more people to purchase CCTV cameras.

For them to take advantage of the benefits from the waiver, they must be willing to place their cameras in the service of the National Surveillance System (JamaicaEye).

Speaking at the launch of the National CCTV System in Kingston on Wednesday, Montague said that it was vital that all Jamaica plays its part in contributing to the system for it to be fully effective.

"We are urging every member of the public anywhere in Jamaica - so long as you have a camera - to give permission and give us your CCTV feed. If you want to buy a CCTV system, so long as it is a digital camera, we can accept the feed," Montague noted.

"So you don't have to go out and buy an expensive camera. We accept the feed of all digitised cameras. It is not the size of the contribution that matters here, but rather, the decision to assist in a national initiative to fight crime," the national security minister added.

However, the Ministry of National Security Director of Communications and Public Affairs Gillian Haughton told The Gleaner yesterday that negotiations were under way to possibly grant the tax waiver to persons who purchase CCTV cameras locally if they sign up with JamaicaEye.

"It is something that is being negotiated. These and other matters are being looked at as we try to streamline all the processes that will aid the smooth operations and buy-in from the public," Haughton said.

Montague said that the JamaicaEye Initiative is the thread that will tie the nation's crime-reduction strategy together, creating a real-time link for crime strategies such as the zones of special operations, among other strategic outlay in the national security apparatus.

"Our aim is to secure 800 feeds now and expand over time so that when something happens, we will query the system and find the answers. Where there are no public cameras, we will place government cameras," said Montague.

"The more feeds we get, the more it will serve as a force multiplier in the context of an undermanned JCF, which is currently operating at about 3,000 police officers short," said Montague, "even though through the recently signed memorandum of understanding with the University of the West Indies we are seeking to train and bring into the force an additional 600 police officers annually," he added.