Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Equipped with a refurbished 38-foot contender boat courtesy of Food For The Poor, the Marine Police Department said it would be better able to clamp down on drug smugglers and make major success in the fight against the drug trade.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Wray Palmer said the boat was well needed.
"The drug trade will be one of our major focus come 2013, and we will be launching major assaults," he said.
He added, "There are many sectors in Jamaica from which the drug trade operates and the fishing villages and uncontrolled ports are some of these. We will be focusing to a very large extent on this."
According to him, there have been major successes this year.
"We are now operating from 11 locations, up from seven. We have seized some 26 boats this year. We arrested 46 persons up from 12 persons in the previous year and over 5,300 pounds of ganja was seized. I'm sure this vessel will go a far way in advancing that cause," he said.
Head of the Marine Police, Terrence Sanko, also expressed gratitude and told The Gleaner the boat was equipped to carry out advanced searches.
"The boat was in a condition where it could have been better and Food For The Poor came on board and refurbished it. This kind of vessel can go on long runs from as far as Colombia and other foreign countries," said Sanko.
In the meantime, Nakhle Hado of Food For The Poor emphasised that efforts must be made to ensure that marine policemen are given all the tools they need to perform their duties.
"We have to ensure that the Marine Police are comfortable using the boat because if a boat is not reliable to do a search and rescue, then it's really a waste," said Hado.