Clear and imminent threats - Venezuelan unrest, dark web spell trouble for Jamaica, says security expert
Less than a month after fishermen in St Catherine confessed to smuggling hundreds of illegal guns into Jamaica from Haiti, security expert Professor Anthony Clayton is urging the Government to invest more in Jamaica’s long-term border protection.
Speaking at an ASIS International Chapter meeting last Thursday, Clayton’s counsel followed another call for push back against political corruption and inappropriate use of resources within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in particular.
He urged urgent action, pointing out that the unrest in neighbouring Venezuela has positioned that country as another source of illegal guns and refugees infiltrating Jamaica.
So far, the majority of Jamaica’s illegal guns come directly from the United States and Haiti.
“There are fixed-winged drones that can stay out for eight hours and get a very wide view, and if you have transponders/transmitters on all the boats, by law, then you can actually know where a boat is, who is in it, and if there has been a rendezvous at sea; you are then ready for that boat when it comes in. These are some of the things we can do by using better use of technology,” Clayton noted, debunking arguments of the inability to fund such initiatives.
The cost of implementing such initiatives at official and unofficial ports of entry is far less than the damage that illegal guns in the hands of troubled youths will bring, he warned.
Meanwhile, the proliferation of social media and the dark web – against the background of the infiltration of “gangster jihad” in countries like neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago – should also concern Jamaica, the professor stressed.
Clayton, who is professor of Caribbean Sustainable Development at the Institute of Sustainable Development at The University of the West Indies (UWI), said that political corruption remains a stumbling block for crime-fighting locally.
To curb this, he said, sleuths should dig deeper into proceeds of crimes, especially money passed between gangsters, politicians, and their lawyers.
Calling for stricter laws to stem the problem, he added, “one of the reasons we don’t do this is because we have some very powerful people involved in various forms of trafficking and money laundering, and so this actually means going to the higher level of society.”
OUTSOURCE SOME SERVICES
While commending Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, who is to use a chunk of the $93.9 billion to be allocated to the Ministry of National Security for fiscal year 2020-2021 for crime-fighting, Clayton said that policemen and women on the ground were working tirelessly, but there needs to be more efficiency from their managers.
“I’ve done several reviews of the police and I’ve been really quite perturbed about some of the things I’ve found,” he said. “You don’t need to invest into a sworn officer for him to raise the barrier (at the Commissioner’s Office), for instance.”
He believes that some duties, including the operation of police vehicles, should be outsourced to private management and security companies, “but you in private security must understand that you cannot lower standards in order to get the winning bid and increase profit margins. There is a level of standard that the public is entitled to.”
Some 50 members from private and government security agencies attended last week’s meeting. ASIS International Jamaica Chapter is lauded as one of the fastest-growing chapters worldwide.