Work to begin on new Mount Salem Police Station next week
Winsome Barnes, president of the Mount Salem Community Development Committee, says that residents in the sections of St James served by the Mount Salem Police Station are overjoyed that the facility is getting a $45-million upgrade.
“From a community perspective, having a new police station in Mount Salem is a welcome initiative. Hopefully, it is going to be a welcome change,” Barnes told The Gleaner following a ceremony yesterday in which Prime Minister Andrew Holness and National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang broke ground for construction.
Work is scheduled to begin in the facility on Monday and is expected to be completed within five months. The project is being undertaken by the social-intervention arm of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund. The new facility will include a guardroom, a resource room, an exhibit room, an armoury area, an interview room, two offices, a kitchen, and adequate bathroom facilities.
Barnes said that she was particularly pleased that the new police station – which is a spin-off benefit of the build phase of the zone of special operations (ZOSO) which has been in the area since 2017 – will be citizen- and community-friendly.
According to Barnes, the current building is very old and has outgrown its usefulness.
“ ... My police officers will now have somewhere comfortable to work,” she said.
In his address, Holness said that he welcomed the change in the mindset of the people of Mount Salem, pointing out that in the three years before the declaration of the ZOSO in a section of the community, residents were constantly at war with each other and with other communities, largely influenced by misguided elements.
“The citizens of Mount Salem today are not the same persons of five years ago, and that is the ultimate transformation,” said Holness. “The mindset in Mount Salem is changing and the message has moved from the Government and the command (the security forces) to the citizens in the community.”
He said that at some point, the Government will have to formally bring an end to the ZOSO.
“At that point in time, the heart of the citizens would have already been transformed, so the [security] presence won’t be needed,” the prime minister said. “The citizens will become the warden of the peace, and that is the objective as we go elsewhere.”