Days after expressing reservations about Government's plan to relocate the headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force's (JDF) headquarters from Up Park Camp to St Catherine, the Opposition has now made it clear that it is against any such move.
In a release yesterday, the PNP said its president, Portia Simpson Miller, expressed deep concern during the party's National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Manchester earlier in the day.
"Mrs Simpson Miller says the implications for national security are very serious and the people of Jamaica must be wary of such a move," stated the release. "The party leader says, 'It is important that the JDF remains in a location from which its members can be dispatched quickly and without hindrance to protect strategic national installations if the need arises'."
Simpson Miller argued during the NEC meeting that in the event of a national emergency, the JDF must be able to get to the air and seaports, Jamaica House, Parliament and other important sites urgently.
"Mrs Simpson Miller says moving the JDF to St Catherine will hamper the effectiveness of the JDF," the release stated.
Last Tuesday, as Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced that plans to move the JDF headquarters to Caymanas, St Catherine, were advanced, Simpson Miller expressed immediate reservations.
"I am not saying we are opposing yet. I am saying we would love to have the discussions on that," Simpson Miller had said. "There are security concerns that just jump out at me immediately, and other concerns in terms of our history and the preservation of our heritage sites."
Yesterday, Simpson Miller also questioned the wisdom of this proposal and why it was a priority at this time, "given the significant resources required to construct a new headquarters, which would run into billions of dollars".
According to the PNP, "this is against the background of breakdowns in our health and education sectors due to inadequate resources".
Golding had told the House of Representatives last Tuesday that the JDF has already been given the land for the construction of its new headquarters. He also said preliminary work on the design for the future use of land at Up Park Camp has already been done.