Closure of Mt Salem Police Station averted
The services branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force had to scramble to effect repairs over the weekend to prevent the closure of the Mount Salem Police Station, which was ordered closed by the St James Public Health Department last Friday.
Public health inspectors had declared the facility unfit for human habitation, but when contacted on Tuesday, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Corporate Communication Unit, Assistant Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, said the closure was averted.
"The notice that was issued would have seen the station closed effective September 17. However, that has been alleviated, in that some of the critical issues identified have been addressed over the weekend, and that will continue on a phased basis," Garrick said.
The Mt Salem Police Station is the neighbouring property to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, which is now partially closed to address a number of issues, which have affected staff and patients.
With regard to the Mt Salem Police Station, Dr Marcia Johnson Campbell, the medical officer of health at the St James Public Health Services, told The Gleaner that there were several breaches of the Public Health Act.
"There was overflowing of sewage on the compound, evidence of rodent infestation, and the general conditions of the facility were not suitable for professionals to occupy," said Johnson Campbell. "There are also issues in regards to ventilation, furniture and flooring."
Over the past 12 months, several police stations across the parish have come under the microscope after being deemed unhealthy. Many were forced to be sterilised, among other rehabilitation works, to bring them up to acceptable standard for human habitation.
Last September, the jail cells at the police station in Freeport in Montego Bay were ordered closed by the Public Health Department as it was discovered that prisoners had been falling ill as a result of unhealthy conditions there.
Earlier this year, the main jail cells in the Hanover police division were closed and prisoners relocated to Barnett Street Police Station in St James in order to carry out repairs at that facility.