Tue | Sep 18, 2018

CCTV in Ocho Rios a waste of money, says Belnavis

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Michael Belnavis


Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor caretaker for the Ocho Rios division, Michael Belnavis, believes that the $107 million spent to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the resort town was a waste, as the money could have been better spent.

"I don't believe the returns from it will warrant the investment," Belnavis argued.

"It's doomed to failure if they are looking to catch criminals. If they are targeting harassers they don't need cameras as we know who the harassers are," Belnavis asserted, in a release to the media.

Belnavis said the $107 million would have been better spent in assisting the Ocho Rios health centre, addressing the conditions at the Ocho Rios craft market, or addressing some of the social needs of communities in and around the resort town.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund contributed $57 million of the amount spent to install the cameras, with the Ministry of National Security providing the rest. The newly installed system was handed over to the police last week in a ceremony at the Ocho Rios Police Station.

Ocho Rios now joins Montego Bay, Mandeville and May Pen as towns where the CCTV is installed.


restoring order


Belnavis' comments came even after several speakers at the handover, including JLP Member of Parliament for St Ann North East, Shahine Robinson, lauded the installation of the cameras and expressed satisfaction that it will help in restoring order in Ocho Rios.

But according to Belnavis, the system is not guaranteed to have any meaningful effect on criminal activities in the town.

"I don't believe the money was well spent. I believe the authorities could have used that money to further develop the infrastructure of the town, instead of putting in this technology.

"It would have even been better if they had installed cameras at traffic lights to catch motorists breaking the red light and then send them a ticket, at least they would be making some money.

"I don't think the installation of cameras will deter people from committing a crime if they really want to, as they believe they can still get away with it. The cameras might catch the action but cannot identify the aggressors and I doubt the response would be effective enough to catch a person in the act, or just after they have committed the offence."