Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Bartlett wants courtesy officers' power strengthened

Published:Wednesday | May 25, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Edmund Bartlett

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has said that the courtesy corps will have to be given the legal authority to act and be more responsive.

"The duties of the courtesy corps simply need an enforcement component, where they can complement the police by having power of arrest and where they are more proactive in crime prevention and the harassment of our visitors," the minister said.

He was speaking recently with tourism stakeholders at the Ocho Rios cruise ship pier in St Ann.

"We are going to have discussions with the Ministry of National Security and the leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to see how we can collaborate together. We have to look and see how we can create a mechanism that will allow for a smiling, warm and friendly look, while at the same time have a strong and forceful hand to deal with situations as they arise," the minister said.

The courtesy corps, a security unit that falls under the Tourism Product Development Company, was established in 2009 to enhance the safety, service and comfort of visitors by strategically deploying courtesy officers in the resort areas of Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio.

Their duties, the minister noted, include the provision of patrol services in designated areas to assist in preventing the harassment of visitors; the provision of information and direction to visitors and local residents, including the location of attractions, restaurants and places of interest; and supervising the orderly dispatch of transportation from cruise ship piers to select venues.