August 18, 2014
More than 20 marine police officers were trained by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in environmental laws and how to safely and effectively secure Jamaica's ports of entries from the importation of invasive alien species and the exportation of Jamaica's endemic and endangered species.
The training took place on 7 August 2014 at the Marine Police Divisional Headquarters in Newport East, Kingston. The officers were drawn from the marine outposts located in Portland, St. Thomas, St. James, Trelawny, St. Ann, St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, Westmoreland and the divisional headquarters in Kingston.
Dionne Rose, Public Education and Corporate Communication Manager at NEPA said the training exercise was part of the Agency's mandate of providing public education on environmental laws and as such empowering Jamaica's law enforcement officers with the necessary knowledge to carry out their duties effectively.
She said the officers were brought up-to-date on the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act, Beach Control Act, Wildlife Protection Act, Endangered Species Act and the Natural Resources Conservation (Wastewater and Sludge) Regulations, 2013.
The law enforcement officers were exposed to the current environmental issues and trends as well as the danger of Invasive Alien Species such as the Lionfish. They were exposed to techniques in collecting water and fish samples during pollution incidents and how to maintain the integrity of the sample. They were encouraged to continue to be vigilant of species coming into and leaving Jamaica's borders by the sea via the coastline.
Assistant Superintendent of Police, Adrian Hamilton thanked the Agency for the training and said, "The Marine Police Division is committed to preventing and combating crimes along the coastline and in the territorial waters of Jamaica; equally, the protection of marine wildlife is a critical responsibility of the unit".
He said the division strives to achieve this, through the enforcement of environmental and other relevant laws; and the training workshop delivered by representatives from NEPA is of massive importance towards attaining these desired outcomes.
NEPA has trained 320 police officers over the last three years in environmental laws. Another workshop will be scheduled later this year for the Jamaica Constabulary Force in St. Mary.