Minister of National Security Robert Montague announced that the administration will be purchasing used cars for the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
According to JAMAICAN media, Montague said used cars will be purchased in an effort to capitalize on the limited financial resources available to purchase vehicles for the force.
He said instead of purchasing 100 new vehicles, the ministry will be able to buy 400 used cars for the same price. The Security Minister also said the used vehicles should be able to serve the force for at least three years.
I hope there is a certification process in place before these vehicles are secured. I wondered whether a better arrangement could’t be arrived at by having the cars made and retrofitted by General motors with a view to having access to more affordable spare parts . I understand that this process would require top level discussions , but it can be done on an annual basis .So instead of say 100 vehicles arriving each year there could be fifty well fitted vehicles arriving each year . This could be built into the budget. I think this would potentially be a better arrangement both financially and the department would have a fresher fleet of vehicles going forward.
The Jamaican terrain offers tremendous challenges as it relates to the longevity of the vehicles. On that basis I believe sourcing vehicles from an American company like General Motors would offer some benefits as it relates to the price of spare parts as well as ensuring a fresher newer fleet of vehicles.
I fundamentally believe that having the vehicles on an annual draw-down basis, properly retrofitted in lesser quantities offers a better way forward. In the same breadth it is refreshing to see that the actions of the Administration insofar as massive expenditures are concerned are done in a transparent and open way.
Even if the manufacturers are not responsible for properly retrofitting police department vehicles it is not out of Government’s reach to begin the process of retrofitting police vehicles professionally.
If the potential 400 used vehicles are not certified pre-owned the idea may amount to a nightmare rather than a potential bright idea. I trust this administration will have the good sense to ensure the Island is not acquiring 400 lemons, but certified used vehicles which will withstand the challenges of the Jamaican terrain.
Going forward I believe the idea I offer here represent the best path forward over a 5 -10 year period. The police department stand to potentially be brought up to speed in terms of mobile strength, freshness of the fleet and a fleet which is representative of what a modern police force deserve.