Jamaica Constantly on Alert – Security Minister

National Security Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, says Jamaica is constantly on alert for terrorists at the country’s ports of entry by using a watch list provided by the international criminal police organisation, Interpol.

“Our immigration officers are on alert. We have the software and backup systems to check passengers before they land, and when they land we’re cued into Interpol,” he said.

Mr. Montague gave the assurance in a JIS News interview, at a Choose Life International Conference on happiness, today (March 23), where he alluded to the recent suspected case of terrorism at the British Parliament in London, England, on March 22.

The conference, which refers to happiness as a state of well-being and contentment, was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. It was held to recognise the United Nations International Day of Happiness, on March 20.

Statistics provided by Mr. Montague revealed that between last year and February this year, more than 412 travellers were denied entry into the island.

“These are persons whose names are on the watch list. There is intelligence which suggests that they were not coming for sun and sea alone, but for other things. Some may also have been in transit to go elsewhere,” he said.

Mr. Montague emphasised the importance of protecting the country’s borders, which he says is being done by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency and immigration officers, who are doing a “phenomenal job”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Montague commended Choose Life International Founder, Dr. Donovan Thomas and his wife, Faith, for organising the happiness conference.

“Donovan and Faith are lifting up the lowly. When a person is contemplating suicide, they have rescued people from a place where they have been,” he said.

Dr. Thomas said the purpose of the conference was to take a proactive approach in raising the happiness threshold in the lives of Jamaicans, which will result in a happier Jamaica.

“People who are happier work harder, they make more money, and they are more committed. It has economic and social possibilities. People who are emotionally happy get on better with their peers and co-workers,” he said.

According to the World Happiness Report of 2017, happiness is increasingly being considered as the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. The report was released at the United Nations on International Day of Happiness.

Jamaica now ranks 76th out of 155 listed countries, between the eastern European nations of Hungary at 75 and Croatia at 77. The country has slipped three spaces since the 2013-2015 period, when Jamaica ranked 73rd in happiness.

The happiest country on Earth is now Norway, with last year’s highest scorer, Denmark now second, and Iceland third.

The conference was held under the theme ‘Happiness, A tool for National Development: Building Emotional Wellness’.

Article by: Chad Bryan
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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