Construction of new police facility for Port Maria to begin soon
The building will house the St Mary divisional headquarters, Area Two Headquarter and the Port Maria Police Station.
The cries of several members of the police force in Port Maria, St Mary for a permanent building has been answered, as the construction for a state-of-art police area and divisional headquarters is set to begin on May 7.
The smiles and appreciation were evident from several police officers, officials and stakeholders at Wednesday’s ground breaking ceremony held on the land, where the structure, already being dubbed as ‘the palace of Port Maria,’ is to be constructed on Main Street in the town.
Speaking at the ceremony, National Security Minister Robert Montague explained that the cost to construct the building in the initial phase will be over $60 million dollars. The funding will be provided by the National Housing Trust (NHT).
“It (the building) will have three floors; (on) one floor will be the police station, (on) the other floor will be the (St Mary) divisional headquarters and the third floor will be the Area Two headquarters, because it is full time we stop paying rent for our police. NHT will be spending some $60 million dollars on the building for now,” the security minister revealed.
While some may question the early ground breaking ceremony being held with the construction expected to commence in May, Montague reassured that the time was being given to ensure that the procurement guidelines of the government were not breached.
National Security Minister Robert Montague
“So the procurement of the material will have to start after today and it is going to take approximately five to six weeks to complete the procurement cycle, hence the start date of the seventh of May… I tell them don’t take no short cut in the procurement, because you have some people that Dr (Morais) Guy know that them going to be looking, because it is St Mary and because me come from St Mary you going hear say something a gwaan, so them look carefully,” the minister argued.
The minister was strident in his stance that there will be no opportunity for breaches in the government procedures.
“Well I want talk it from early, my clear instructions are that the government procurement guidelines must be followed to the T and if it mean we going to start the building three days late so be it, but mi not going to bare no burden when mi nuh guilty.”
The minister pointed out that the project managers on the construction of the new facility will be the police themselves.
“There ain’t no contractors, so we save the contractor’s fee,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Montague also told the gathering that “there will be no extension of time, so the building will have to be delivered in 18 months.”
Since the destruction of the Port Maria Police Station by fire several years ago, the officers have been stationed at various buildings rented by the government in the town.
Ground was broken for the construction of the police station on Wednesday.
The building where the lawmen currently occupy is in close proximity to the land, where the new facility is to be constructed.
Several officials at the function congratulated the NHT and the security minister for the construction of the new police structure.
Among those were acting custos Maxine Marsh, who emphasized that the impending construction would mean job opportunities in the parish.
In addition, she expressed her joy that the historic town of Port Maria will soon have “a modern, customer friendly facility.”
Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifford Blake also joined those in commending security minister, Robert Montague and the NHT for addressing the needs of the officers at the Port Maria Station.
“When I last visited the station over there and you see the cramped environment in which the police were functioning, you just wonder how they were able to keep producing. But there is hope and that’s why we are standing here this morning,” Blake stated.
He also called on the island's stakeholders to continue supporting the police.