Tue | Oct 16, 2018

McKay calls for better security deployment at UWI

Published:Thursday | January 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM

McKay Security director Jason McKay said that the University of the West Indies (UWI) could use better deployment strategies regarding its security personnel to prevent future armed robbery attempts on campus.

His comments follow Tuesday afternoon's incident where British sprinter Zharnel Hughes was held up by gunmen after arriving at the UWI/Usain Bolt Track, the base of the Racers Track Club at the university. It is reported that a licensed firearm holder fired at the gunmen, who fled the scene. No one was harmed in the incident.

Racers Track Club General Secretary Cynthia Cooke declined to comment on the matter. She said the club is merely a tenant at the University of the West Indies' Mona Campus, and it is the university - and not the club - that is responsible for matters concerning security.

McKay said that adequately protecting the university's campus is a difficult prospect because of its large size.

"The size of the university makes it extremely difficult to have any real presence everywhere, to make it really safe for persons moving around," he explained. "The best thing they could do is if they know they're going to have the movement of people in large groups to their cars, you perhaps could put a [security] presence in those zones.

McKay said that how the university and Racers Track Club moves on from the incident, with regard to negative publicity it may receive, and the difficulty it may now face in attracting both international athletes and students, depends on media coverage of the incident.

"A lot depends on the media. If the press is gonna make too much of it, then it's going to go viral internationally. I don't think all of our laundry has to be washed like this. This is a particular incident at a university that could've happened at any university in the world. He (Hughes) wasn't harmed. What we need to do is ... try and work with the university to see how better they can ensure it doesn't happen again. If you make too much of it, then it only hurts everybody."

Calls to the phone of UWI head of security, Keith 'Trinity' Gardner, went unanswered.