St. John’s Antigua- National Security Minister Dr Errol Cort said he is pushing for the construction of a police station with a fire service facility on the southern side of the island.
If all goes according to plan, he said, the station would be built in Brooks (east of Cades Bay between Urlings and Old Road) where a station was once located but was damaged by a hurricane over a decade ago.
Currently, the communities on that side of the mainland – John Hughes, Swetes, Follies – do not have their own fire or police station or Emergency Medical Services (EMS). They rely mainly on All Saints Police/Fire Service and to some extent Liberta Station.
“I fully accept that there is urgent need for us to have a police station, a strong police presence in the southern part of the island,” the minister said.
“It has now been agreed we will go back to the Brooks site and erect a police facility there that will provide police coverage and also fire service facility for the southern side of the island. We are seeking to get that into our 2013 budget,” he added.
Dr Cort said he hopes the Ministry of Finance would approve the finances for the project in the next budget, so that some time next year construction could begin.
Meantime, he said a system should be adopted to address the needs of residents while awaiting the construction of the station.
“I would concede that, in the interim, all efforts need to be made, to, perhaps, have some temporary facility, that is, maybe, rent some home and have some police capacity to cover that part of the island. So I give the undertaking that I will be pursuing that vigorously so that we get critical police presence to cover that part,” the national security minister said.
While he admitted the physical presence of lawmen would help address crime in the communities, he said it would also take the involvement of the entire community to effectively deal with the situation.