Courts can expect high-quality JamaicaEye videos - coordinator
Emil Holgate, the project coordinator of the JamaicaEye security system, says that footage captured on the national security initiative's video cameras will be of superior quality when compared to footage that is currently caught on privately owned cameras.
Holgate was speaking against the background of the recent not guilty verdict in the St James Circuit Court case, where two men, who were accused of committing a daring murder at a gas station in Glendevon, St James, in 2016, were freed because the video footage captured on a surveillance camera was not good enough to be deemed conclusive evidence.
"The video quality is dependent on what customers choose to use, so with that particular incident, that camera was not linked to JamaicaEye, but it was a camera from private individuals," said Holgate. "As it relates to the cameras we will be installing and those that have already been installed, they are of a much better quality and we haven't had any issues as it relates to visibility."
He continued, "Through JamaicaEye, we've been recommending cameras of a particular specification that will guarantee better visibility. We cannot compare private cameras to the cameras that the Government is installing, as the ones we are installing are of superior quality."
In the Glendevon incident, brothers Oniel and O'Brian Walters were charged with the murder of Kahni Erskine, who was killed in broad daylight at a gas station. The brothers were arrested and charged based on video footage captured on a surveillance camera, as well as eyewitnesses accounts.
However, the case fell apart as both the witnesses and video footage turned out to be unreliable, leaving the trial judge with no other option but to ask the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.
IMPROVING PUBLIC SECURITY
JamaicaEye was launched on March 14 as the latest crime-fighting initiative from the Ministry of National Security. It is designed to network closed-circuit television camera feeds from both Government and privately owned cameras islandwide to improve public security and emergency response.
There are 70 functioning cameras in Montego Bay under the JamaicaEye programme, and another 300 are to be installed in the western city by December 28. A central control system for the cameras will also be created in Montego Bay. No date has yet been given for this to be done.
More than 100 private partners have joined the JamaicaEye network so far. Interested persons can log on at www.jamaicaeye.gov.jm.