Increase use of technology in fighting crime, says UWI professor
Professor Evan Duggan, who is Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, said there have been “amazing advancements” in information and communications technologies (ICT), over the past six decades, which offer great potential for improving security strategies.
The academic, who was addressing a recent National Security Policy Seminar at UWI’s Regional Headquarters, located on the Mona campus, pointed to Kenya as a developing country that has employed the use of inexpensive technology in its crime fighting initiatives.
“Potential applications and innovations have been implemented through the use of powerful but not very expensive technologies that have allowed law enforcers to make enormous leaps in criminal intelligence, crime analysis, emergency response and policing,” he said.
He pointed to the use of a variety of mobile apps for crime prevention and reporting, web facilities, and citizen portals for the reporting of criminal activity.
Professor Duggan said that in order for Jamaica to realise the full benefit of technology in crime fighting, national security stakeholders need to engage local application developers.
“I would enjoin our stakeholders to engage the extremely creative Jamaican application developers, who now produce high quality apps for a variety of mobile and other platforms. I recommend interventions to assist in helping these groups to cohere into a unified force that is more than capable of supplying the applications we need,” he urged.
The UWI Professor pointed to the Mona Geoinformatic Institute as one entity that has been assisting in fighting crime, through analyses of crime data as well as three dimensional (3D) reconstruction of crime scenes; and mapping jurisdictional boundaries for police posts and divisions, as well as the movement of major gangs across the country.
In the meantime, Professor Duggan called for “purposeful activism” in the fight against crime and lawlessness which, he said, are “serious deterrents to economic development and national growth prospects” and could derail the national vision of developed country status by 2030.
“In the current global landscape where security challenges are proliferating across borders and have taken on multifaceted physiognomies, all hands on deck are vital,” he stressed.
“We need to …consolidate pockets of research excellence in this area …to provide the kinds of insight that will lead to more fruitful and productive collaborative engagements that are required to help us better understand the security challenges and threats from crime in order to better inform our national security architecture and direction,” he added.
First-class for high-level officials only
Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie said yesterday that Cabinet accepted the recommendation for a proposal for a review of the travel arrangements for official overseas travel.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Cuffie said in an effort to streamline operations, Cabinet decided certain officers would be entitled to first-class travel and other officers would be asked to use the other classifications of travel that are available.
Police make huge marijuana haul
Marijuana fields were discovered in Rio Claro, where officers of the Eastern Division Task Force found thousands of the illegal trees were being cultivated.
In a police exercise between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. Thursday, police officers said they went to an area 500 feet off Dades Trace.
There they found an area with some 33,000 fully grown marijuana trees. Police also found two camps where they were discovered 4.5 kilogrammes (ten pounds) of cured marijuana, and some 500 seedlings.
No one was arrested at the camps or fields, police said.
However, the exercise continued in Rio Claro, and officers arrested four men for possession of marijuana, and a 32-year-old man with a homemade shotgun.
Police said the 32-year old was driving a van along Old Rio Claro Mayaro Road at around 10.45 a.m. when they stopped and searched him and the vehicle.
Police said on the floor of the vehicle between the driver’s and front passenger’s seats they found a homemade 12-guage shotgun.
The five suspects who were arrested during the exercise were expected to appear in court this week.
The officers on the exercise included acting Sargeants Mohammed and Williams, acting Corporals Mohammed and Singh, and constables Patrick, Abraham, Jaikaran, Billy, Gadar and Hamid.
And in Maracas, St Joseph, police officers of the North Eastern Division Task Force found cured marijuana valued at $80,000.
Police said between midday Wednesday and 9 a.m. Thursday, police recovered six kilogrammes of the illegal drug in a wooden shack, and 1.1 kilogrammes in a yard.
The police team went to Wharf Trace, Maracas, St Joseph, where they found three men in a wooden shack. When confronted by the police, the suspects fled into the forest and escaped.
Police searched the shack found six kilogrammes of marijuana, and a quantity of seeds. The items were seized by the police officers.
The exercise continued and at around 8 a.m. police officers went to Calvary Hill, Upper Bush Street, San Juan in an area known as “Lover’s Lane” where the officers observed four men. Police confronted the men, and two were arrested but two escaped. The officers searched an open yard and found a quantity of marijuana amounting to 1.1 kilogrammes. Police said the suspects were also wanted for several firearm and larceny offences.
The police team, was led by Sergeant Liston Taylor, and was supervised by Corporals Quashie and Small, and included constables Antoine, Duncan, Voisin, Marshall, Gervais, Highly, Ceballo, and Moore.
PC Gervais is continuing enquiries in both cases.
Garcia: Boys lagging
[Trinidad Express] – Education Minister Anthony Garcia yesterday congratulated the 443 national scholarship winners but said he had noted the boys have continued to lag academically.
Speaking at a news conference in the press room of the Parliament Chamber, at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, Garcia said the “gentlemen” in the school system had to step it up.
Garcia also said Cabinet, in its meeting yesterday, had no- ted Government secondary schools where “all the money was spent” were being outper- formed by their State-assisted denominational counterparts.
“Cabinet was not pleased,” Garcia said, adding only five per cent of this year’s scholarships went to Government schools.
Garcia said he has been asked to address this situation which, along with others challenges facing the school system, are to be taken on from early next year when Government launches a national consultation on education that will include “all stakeholders”.
Minister in the Ministry of Education Francis Lovell said this issue of performance in Government schools was a long-standing one.
Speaking to the Express via telephone yesterday, head of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Satnarayan Maharaj expressed pride in the performance of Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu College this year, adding that denominational schools have surpassed their Government peers for some time.
Maharaj said he believed a hands-on approach to teaching and to school management as a whole by teachers and parents of denominational schools was at the root of the success of those schools.
He said he witnesses teachers going above and beyond the call of duty frequently, often taking on tasks that are far out of their job specifications.
The parents of children in denominational schools are also very supportive and are usually agreeable to assisting with school funding, he said.
“They need to look at what’s happening inside the Government schools,” Maharaj added.
Other schools to garner significant numbers of scholarships were Holy Faith Convent —20, St Joseph’s Convent in Port of Spain—41, in San Fernan- do—13 and in St Joseph —27.
St Augustine Girls’ High School netted a total of 27 scholarships, with Hillview College in El Dorado receiving 34.
St Mary’s College in Port of Spain took home a total of 12, Presentation College in Chaguanas—19 and in San Fernando—14 while Fatima College got ten.