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$291m to upgrade national police network
Acting Prime Minister Jack Warner yesterday declared the Moruga and La Brea police stations “disasters” as he toured eight stations out of 18 earmarked for reconstruction. The eight stations are part of a $291 million programme aimed at upgrading the national police network. A further ten stations will also be constructed, Warner said yesterday.
The National Security Minister openly expressed regret over the conditions officers at Moruga, La Brea and Oropouche are forced to operate under. “We are hitting the ground running...as from next week we are giving the police all the facilities they need. I must apologise sincerely for what I saw in La Brea this morning. It is inconceivable to believe in an age like this, policemen are asked to work under those conditions,” Warner said.
Yesterday, he led a high-powered team including soon-to-be acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) chairman Jearlean John, junior National Security Minister Colin Partap and other officials on a tour of the three stations located in the South Western Division and five other stations in the Eastern Division.
John said the stations will taken between 12 and 15 months to be completed. Construction on the Maloney Police Station will begin on Wednesday, while construction of the Arima, Brasso, Cumuto, La Brea and Moruga buildings will start on Friday. Work on the Oropouche station will begin at the end of the month. The officers have to be relocated since the station will be reconstructed at its present location.
A building opposite the station has been selected and negotiations with the owner, Jean Porter, have commenced. Porter was present at yesterday’s tour. Warner, speaking with reporters at Lystra’s Diner, Avocat Junction, Fyzabad, after the South Western leg of the tour, said he was dismayed to see the deplorable conditions the officers have to deal with on a daily basis.
“I still cannot believe what I saw in Moruga. I say to you, it is a disaster. La Brea was even worse. The conditions I saw in Oropouche is bad. This is not fair for policemen to work under those conditions. We shall give them accommodation, we shall give them vehicles, we shall give them equipment,” Warner said. The stations are in a state of disrepair and lack basic amenities.
Williams said he was heartened by Warner’s statements. “Today’s activity gives them some renewed hope that something is being done to address their situation in an urgent manner,” he said. “Many of these locations are extremely poor (and) the officers have been complaining, but they have been withstanding the adverse conditions.” He commended them for continuing to perform their duties inspite of the conditions.
Warner was named as the acting PM until Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s return from Jamaica on Wednesday. Persad Bissessar left for Jamaica yesterday where she is a guest of Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller for that country’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations.
His appointment, Warner said, “is the highest example of faith she has in what I am doing. I want to publicly thank her for the confidence she has placed in me and under no condition I will let her down.” He added that the new stations will ensure that the fight against crime is a success. “We shall succeed in this mission. We shall succeed, we have no option. When we succeed, we shall put (Dr Keith) Rowley and the Opposition out of business,” he said.
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