Gov't spending $11 billion to improve Jamaica's border security
National Security Minister Robert Montague says the government is spending some $11 billion to improve the country's border security.
In a release from the National Security Ministry this morning, Montague says the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is to get six additional helicopters and four aircraft this year.
Four of the helicopters are new and the other two are used.
The helicopters, which come with five year's supply of spare parts and maintenance service, are being acquired at a cost of US$47.4 million.
The four aircraft are being acquired for an additional US$1.58 million.
The Security Minister says the current JDF helicopter fleet is nearly 20 years old noting that industry standards recommend replacement at between seven and 10 years.
He says a surveillance plane has also been purchased at a cost of US$16.9 million and that is now being outfitted with a suite of equipment.
Montague says the surveillance plane will be commissioned into service later this year.
He notes that the next step is to acquire a coastal radar system.
Two ships were acquired at a cost of US$26.4 million for the JDF Coast Guard last year.
Montague says the spend on border security is part of the government's five-pillar crime reduction strategy.
He notes that over 850 illegal guns and nearly 22,000 rounds of ammunition were seized by the security forces last year.
He says the country’s 145 illegal points of entry offer a gateway for guns, ammunition as well as un-customed goods to enter the island.