Following years of unreliable security, the University of Guyana on Thursday launched an initiative aimed at enhancing the safety of lecturers, students, and visitors at is Turkeyen Campus.
Under the Greater Guyana Initiative (GCI), three security facilities were commissioned on the campus grounds.
The new buildings which are situated at the front and back of the campus will serve as checkpoints on the campus ground, monitoring vehicular traffic in and out of the compound, and maintaining the safety of students, staff, and the property.
According to Vice-Chancellor Paloma Mohamed, the project, which is being executed by the GGI – led by the Stabroek Block co-venturers ExxonMobil Guyana, Hess Guyana Exploration Ltd., and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited – has been in the making since December 2019.
During her remarks at the commissioning ceremony, she stated that UG had been experiencing a security crisis for quite some time. She explained that students, and herself, felt scared of being on campus because of the many reports of robberies that were made. She further noted that the university was almost, if not completely, defenseless.
“This was a campus that had no fences. We were wide open to animals and to all kinds of people with nefarious pursuits and with injurious intent. They could access this campus at will, at any time. Our high valued labs and other holdings were not specially secured. They were secured only with doors, padlocks, and sometimes grills. And many times, we would have arrived in the mornings to find entire doors removed from their hinges and buildings severely breached,” Mohamed explained.
This lack of security, she further explained, created opportunities for outsiders to attack students and staff.
“Further, there was a worrisome occurrence of attacks on students inside the campus, but mostly, outside of the campus as they waited in the open for private or public transport. There was no safe purpose-built dedicated space for students and staff to wait in safety and in comfort, and many times, right on this very campus, people attacked them with knives, with guns; breaking into their vehicles, removing their laptops, their books, taking away their phones,” the Vice-Chancellor noted.
With the new security facilities, some 12,000 lives inclusive of students and staff of the university are to be secured once on-campus.
The project is only in its first stage. The second stage will see the completion of a “Main Security Lounge” which will house the University’s Occupational Health and Safety Unit.
Speaking on behalf of the GGI leaders, the Socio-economic Manager of ExxonMobil, Susan Scott said that enhancing safety at UG is crucial in creating a learning environment where students can thrive.
“Enhancing the safety here…is overall crucial to creating that learning environment where students can thrive and physician investments in the university are secured,” Scott said.
She further noted that oil giant, ExxonMobil looks forward to maintaining a healthy, long-lasting partnership with UG.
“This partnership was flourishing even before the launch of GGI, which happened in 2021 with successful initiatives such as the raise for pay student support fund, the refurbishment of the physics lab, and the university’s radio station. So, it’s a long-standing partnership and one we look forward to continuing.”