UWI shells out $30m per month for security
It is costing the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, close to $30 million per month to secure its 650 acres of space.
Principal of the tertiary institution, Professor Dale Webber, who made the disclosure, said the sum spent for security was necessary at a time when the university was sprinting into world-class status.
The UWI was recently ranked among the top five per cent of the world's best institutions.
For years, the Mona campus has been a magnet for petty thieves and other miscreants who gain easy access to the facility through inadequate fencing and would prey on students and staff alike.
However, according to Webber, the university has taken a decision to spend big on security measures designed to keep miscreants out and to secure the school's population and delicate infrastructure.
"In the first 100 days of the new management's tenure, The UWI has spent big on some of its security apparatus.
As a university, we have spent a whole lot over the past decade constructing buildings and infrastructure and putting in place things that make us world class, but we also needed to spread that spend.
So we are looking at reprioritising how we spend on various things, and security is something that we realised that we need to spend on," Webber told a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum.
Webber emphasised that safety must start with individuals, pointing out that students refuse to wear identification badges even though it is an important part of identifying those persons who actually belong to the university.
Chairman of the UWI Security Committee Professor Ian Boxill said that the institution has always been a different kind of university.
"It's a huge campus, 650 acres, and despite the fact that our students need security, they equally need freedom, so the campus has to walk that tightrope between having security and having that level of freedom," Boxill said.
The upgraded security apparatus now includes various types of electronic surveillance, a police post, as well as detachments of campus police and uniformed and non-uniformed security personnel, making it that more difficult for miscreants to roam the campus undetected.