National Security Minister Robert Montague
Following complaints from members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and residents of crime plagued communities, there will be an injection of more police vehicles in coming days.
Minister of National Security Robert Montague is to hand over 97 service vehicles to the Force on Monday.
Mr. Montague made the disclosure while speaking with journalists at a ceremony on Thursday morning.
We knew the police need (sic) additional resources and we made the moves because this minister is not going to break the procurement guidelines," he insisted.
"It is interesting to note that in the four years of the former administration, they provided 679 vehicles. In less than two years, I am already at 393, and when you add the 66, we will be over 400; so do the math," he touted.
The police have complained that their anti-crime strategies have been hampered by a vehicle shortage.
Meanwhile, the National Security Minister said the Ministry of Finance has withdrawn the moratorium granted to the company contracted to supply cars to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Mr. Montague said this came after receiving legal advice from the Attorney General's Chambers.
A moratorium was granted for 66 cars that have been sitting on the wharf.
But the minister said the Attorney General advised that the ministry is not liable to pay the General Consumption Tax and the Special Consumption Tax being charged by Jamaica Customs on O'Brien International Car Rental and Sale.
The ministry has refused a request from O'Brien International for it to pay the taxes which amount to about $14 million.
The ministry has already called in a $42 million performance bond supplied by O'Brien International as a condition of the contract.
The National Security Minister has also rejected assertions that O'Brien's International Car Sales and Rentals was selected to purchase 200 used vehicles for the Jamaica Constabulary Force on the basis that he is a friend of the owner.
Mr. Montague on Thursday defended the process used to select O'Brien's as the preferred bidder, saying the process was transparent and the Office of the Contractor General was involved.
He added that it was the National Contracts Commission which selected O'Brien's as the supplier of the vehicles.
Speaking on RJR's call-in programme, Hotline, Mr. Montague said the matter should not be politicised.
"He is a supporter of the Labour Party, however, Chapter 3 (in) the Charter of Rights says you can't discriminate against a Jamaican for political affiliation, religion or race; and also the consultant who worked with O'Brien's, to our certain knowledge, is a councillor of the KSAC and a member of the People's National Party...so I don't want us to take no politics along the line," he urged.
Mr. Montague said no one in the Ministry of National Security is culpable for the problems with the O'Brien's contract.
He asserted that the Ministry made it clear to O'Brien's that it would be responsible to pay the taxes on the used vehicles.
"I believe that the error was made on their part that they felt they were importing vehicles on behalf of the ministry... We ask in the tender to purchase vehicles at 2 Oxford Road; so whether you had it locally or you imported it, how you get it is your business; we want to buy it," the minister explained.
He said that procedure would also account for why the contractor is required to pay to the government all applicable duties and taxes in determining the final price.