Cops say more resources needed to monitor shoreline

Observer Reporter
Friday, October 19, 2001

CONCERNED about the recent influx of large amounts of drugs in the parish, the Westmoreland police have expressed concern that they do not have enough equipment and manpower to adequately monitor the parish’s shoreline that has been used as an entry point for some of the contraband.

“From our two recent finds, I would say we’re having an influx of drugs, particularly along our seacoast; and the police will be monitoring the shoreline and the seas to apprehend these drug dealers,” said Corporal Alva Douglas, the Constabulary Communication Network liaison officer for the parish. “But to effectively cover a shoreline from Negril right back to Whitehouse, I don’t think we would have the manpower to effectively do that. We would need more boats and personnel.”

The local police leaned heavily on the Coast Guard and lawmen from other parishes in Tuesday’s massive drug haul that netted over 2,000 pounds of cocaine and 25 pounds of ganja with an estimated street value of roughly $1.25 billion. But concerns have been raised about the contraband that makes its way into the island when all the forces are not called out.

In addition to their small numbers, the Westmoreland police are also hampered by the theft, earlier this year, of the only boat owned by the Marine Division in Negril.

“The boat that was assigned was stolen earlier this year. We haven’t had any leads as to its whereabouts and there has been no replacement as yet,” Corporal Douglas said.

He estimated that it would take about three boats to adequately secure the parish’s shoreline.

“It’s a wide area but I believe, with the boat in Negril (once replaced) and quite possibly one or two more doing nightly patrols together with the Coast Guard, I believe we’d put a dent in the drug trafficking in the area,” Douglas said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Area One and Kingston Narcotics divisions continued their investigations into Tuesday’s drug find in the Belmont area of Westmoreland.

“The investigations are being conducted by narcotics police and there are personnel gathering intelligence but we haven’t apprehended anybody in connection with it yet. They are still in the area doing investigations,” said Corporal Douglas. “We can’t allow the scourge of drugs to be put in our neighbourhoods; the police will be monitoring and going all out to apprehend these drug traffickers.”