Press Clippings

Caribbean’s first search training centre opened

A $26-million centre where Caribbean law enforcement officers will be trained to search for and detect illegal guns, ammunition, explosives, drugs and other forms of contraband was opened yesterday at the Jamaica Constabulary force training complex in Twickenham Park, St Catherine.

Named the Caribbean Search Training Centre, it is one of five initiatives announced by the British Government yesterday to help fight crime in the region.

British high commissioner, Antony Smith, told the 65 law offices who completed a two-week course at the Centre, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, that in addition to providing the technical expertise, his government has donated seven mini buses, five Land Rovers, state-of-the-art search equipment and other resources to the Centre.

High Commissioner Smith said that the other projects include:

  • specialised training in Trinidad for nine police officers in handling paedophile and child abuse investigations;
  • training in Grenada for three senior officers to enhance their skills to promote democratic policing and human rights awareness;
  • training in Barbados for prison officer in conflict resolution in prisons and to raise awareness of human rights issues; and
  • training of 26,000 police offices and 3,00 social workers across the Caribbean in the handling of domestic violence.

"We have re-started training of detectives in Britian as part of a programme to jointly retrain and retain all detectives on the island," Smith said, adding that in terms of a computerised criminal intelligence system, equipment was being procured to train eight officers in search and analytical techniques to improve detection rates.

Smith said the United Kingdom will also be providing sophisticated equipment and communications for the Jamaica Defence Force to improve their ability to intercept drugs.

The British high commissioner handed over the motor vehicles and full kits of search equipment to Jamaica’s prime minister, P J Patterson, who officially opened the centre. The search equipment includes check scopes, metal detectors, Hoodlin person searchers and tools for scrapping cars.

Patterson promised to spend $30 million on phase two of the project in addition to the $10 million the government has already spent to refurbish the facility.

In thanking the UK government for providing the vehicles, and the technical expertise, Patterson sounded a warning to contraband traffickers: "Let this send a message to drug traffickers and other contraband traffickers that n matter what device they use to conceal their evil goods, we will find them."

Chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force,
Major General John Simmonds, presenting
certificates of completion to the trainees
for the new Caribbean Search Centre.
British High Commissioner His Excellency
Antony Smith (right) handing over the key to one
of the new land rovers the British Government
has provided for the Caribbean Search Centre.
Prime Minister of Jamaica, Right Honourable
P J Patterson oficially declaring the
Caribbean Search Centre open.
Search demonstration by soldiers.
Dignitaries at the opening of the new caribbean Search Centre.