Sat | Jun 10, 2023

Chang: Investment in security forces bringing results

Published:Monday | May 2, 2022 | 12:06 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Col (Ret) Audley Carter (left) and FLA CEO Shane Dalling unveiling a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the FLA’s Northern Regional Office by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang (centre) who looks on along with Minister Zavia Mayne and
Col (Ret) Audley Carter (left) and FLA CEO Shane Dalling unveiling a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the FLA’s Northern Regional Office by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang (centre) who looks on along with Minister Zavia Mayne and Mayor Sydney Stewart.
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Encouraged by two massive drugs and cash busts last week, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang says the Government’s investment in the security forces is bearing fruit.

Within days apart last week, the security forces seized $88 million worth of cocaine and a large sum of United States and Canadian currencies in western Jamaica, and US$1.7 million (J$255m) worth of ganja in Clarendon.

Speaking at the official opening of the Firearm Licensing Authority’s (FLA) Northern Regional Office on Friday in Discovery Bay, St Ann, Chang said the seizure means cutting off the supply of cash to criminals, which means they will be unable to buy guns.

This will lead to a drop in the homicide rate, he argued.

“I would like to commend the police officers, supported by elements of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), for the success they’ve been having,” Chang said.

“It demonstrates that investment by the Government in the security forces is showing results,” he added.

“We will keep providing the resources to the security forces to improve their capacity,” he continued, explaining that added resources will boost the level of intelligence to the security forces, both from a technical and human perspective.

The increase in intelligence on the part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), JDF and Major Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Agency has come as a result of their joint operations and work with international partners.

“I expect in due course the homicide rate will go down because when you pull out the money, it’s not there to buy all the guns they require and it’s not there to hire the contract killers.”

The new FLA office in St Ann is aimed at offering services to residents in St Ann, Trelawny, and St Mary.

Chief Executive Officer Shane Dalling said that the office is not meant to increase the number of licensed firearm holders, but to increase the level of service and privacy of clients.

Currently, residents in the three parishes have to travel to FLA offices in Montego Bay or Kingston.

With an office also in Mandeville, the FLA now operates from four offices islandwide.

Dalling noted that an upgraded system allows for the access of clients’ information in a minute. The FLA system is also synchronised with that of the JCF.

Meanwhile, FLA chairman, Col (Ret) Audley Carter, said the new facility is geared at offering first-class service to its clients and encouraged the staff to ensure this happens.

The FLA Northern Regional Office has been in operation since October 2021, but is just now being officially opened.