Sat | Nov 25, 2017

UWI under attack - Security personnel blame 'Trinity' as fear heightens amid failure to prevent Garvey bust vandalism

Published:Thursday | October 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott
The bust was wrapped in plastic yesterday.
The defaced bust of Marcus Garvey at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday night.
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Security personnel stationed at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) are on edge, fearing that they will be blamed for an act of vandalism that took place in the shadows late Tuesday night.

The subject: the controversial bust of National Hero Marcus Garvey erected at the Faculty of Humanities on the campus in August.

The Raymond Watson-sculpted bust was splashed with yellow paint and plastered with feathers. However, when The Gleaner went to the campus yesterday, it was revealed that a distraught Professor Waibinte Wariboko, dean of the faculty, early this morning had covered the disfigured bust.

The latest incident at the faculty forced top-tier UWI officials into an emergency meeting lasting almost five hours.

 

Security concerns

 

But as time went by, several security personnel conversing among themselves did not hide their concerns.

One of them, who spoke with The Gleaner on condition of anonymity, said that a series of events at the Humanities Faculty have raised serious security concerns in recent times.

"We have had a number of break-ins around here. Man come from all over to break into the faculty offices, and since then, security people [have been] getting a hard time. They are going to want to blame security, and that's unfair," the security guard said.

The security personnel, who argued that adequate security systems are not in place at the faculty, pointed fingers at head of security on campus Keith 'Trinity' Gardener.

"Trinity head must on the block. Go around there and look. Not even camera around there," the guard told The Gleaner.

Another security officer, who also spoke with The Gleaner on condition of anonymity, disclosed that one of the dissenting voices among an angry group vexed with UWI over the bust came to the campus last week, sparking an uproar at the faculty.

"We don't know is who, but the Rasta guy come, and him mek up whole heap a noise ... . And him spit on the people dem tings, too," the security officer said.

"Him a the first person they should investigate and give security a break because we cannot be everywhere," he added.

... No beat-down will keep UWI from soaring - Student

When Professor Waibinte Wariboko, dean of humanities, emerged from an emergency meeting yesterday, he refused to comment on the blot that has emerged on the faculty.

"You look at it and judge for yourself ... ." was all Professor Wariboko said in reacting to the defacing of the bust of Marcus Garvey before rushing into his office.

Students, however, were far more vocal in strongly condemning the vandalisation of the bust, calling it a disgraceful act.

"This is the Faculty of Humanities, basically the arts, and around here, we embrace diversity in thought and expression. Whoever did it must know that the UWI will rise again, and no amount of beat-down will keep us from soaring," said Nicole, a student.

Another second-year student said that the constant attacks on the faculty should not be tolerated by the university's administration.

Efforts by The Gleaner to reach Dr Caroll Edwards, head of the UWI communication unit, proved unsuccessful, as she was said to be in a security committee meeting.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com