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Doneique Smith

Resurrection of the Quarantine Act (Part 1)

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The Quarantine Act hereinafter referred to as the Act is now as famous as the term ‘Tan a yuh yard’ or Ding Dong’s April 2020 hit song ‘Inside, Inside’.

The shipping Industry has thrived on the exchange of goods and services. Eric Williams in his famous book entitled Capitalism and Slavery elucidated that the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were the centuries of trade and the nineteenth century was the century of production. For Britain, that trade was primarily the triangular trade which saw the trading of plants, animals, metals, precious stones and sadly humans – the vast majority being Africans who were sold into slavery. This global transfer of foods, plants, animals and humans during the colonization of the Americas is known as the Columbian Exchange. This exchange resulted in diseases and plagues being transferred from one country to another.

The Europeans were no strangers to plagues, as the fourteenth century saw the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Venice was the first port to have imposed restrictions on ships by making it mandatory that ships arriving in their port must wait and anchor for 40 days before landing. This practice was called quarantine and was derived from the Italian words quaranta giorni which means 40 days.

The International Health Cooperation (now known as The World Health Organization) was instrumental in the introduction of the International Sanitary Convention 1892. The objective of this convention was to harmonize and reduce to a safe minimum the conflicting and costly maritime quarantine requirements of different European nations. With Jamaica being a Colony of Great Britain, this convention was applicable to our island. However, it was not until the 15th day of December 1951 that The Quarantine Act was formally ratified into Jamaica’s domestic law.

Rise to Prominence

As COVID-19 cases began sweeping the world Jamaica was not spared its wrath, as on the 10th day of March 2020 Jamaican recorded our first case of Covid19. The government facing its worst health crisis, had to take decisive action to control the movement of individuals within Jamaica’s territorial waters and land mass. The Quarantine Act would now begin rising to ‘statutory prominence’ as Section 7 of the Act states “The Minister may make regulations, as respects the whole or any part of the Island, including the ports and coastal waters thereof, for preventing danger to public health from ships or aircraft or any person.”

In order to effectively carry out the regulations, Section 3 of the Act establishes a Quarantine Authority whose duty it is to execute the Quarantine Act’s regulations. The Minister must ensure that the Authority consist of a Chairman who must be the Chief Medical Officer and four other members. These members shall consist of a representative from the Shipping industry and another from the aviation industry.

Read part 2: coming soon.

CMU extends application period for admissions

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The Caribbean Maritime University has extended the application period for undergraduate admission to June 30, 2020 in response to calls by prospective students who have undergone several challenges amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Since May, the University has received an influx of queries from prospective students requesting an extension of the application deadline. The decision to extend the deadline was ‘very important’ according to University Registrar Dr. Mark Broomfield.

“Even though we are in a health crisis, there are still students who wish to start their academic journey at the tertiary level,” he said. “So, it was a very important decision taken by the University to allow these students an opportunity to pursue their goals.” 

While students are still able to apply, the University has started the acceptance process from a pool of persons who applied early, with additional candidates expected to be admitted throughout June.

Despite the global health crisis, the CMU is working to ensure that, where admission services in particular are concerned, students are as minimally affected as possible. “We are committed to ensuring that disruptions outside students’ control will not negatively impact their application and admission to the University,” said Dr. Broomfield. “The Admission Department is continuing to process applications and release offers of admission based on academic results available to date.”

Females comprise 62% of applicants thus far, compared with 51% last year and 46% the year before.  With this increase in the percentage of female applicants this year, second-year CMU engineering student Stephane Roberts hopes more women will take the dive into careers which have traditionally been dominated by men. “It would be great to see more women enrolling in the engineering programme here at CMU,” Stephane said. “It is very rigorous, but it prepares you well for the world of work.”

So far, the applicants include students come from all 14 parishes along with international prospects.

Over the last few years, the University has received close to 5000 applications each year.

To apply now, please click the link here https://srs.cmu.edu.jm/web/signup

CMU alumnus finds pleasure in assisting healthcare workers

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Just a year ago, Brandon Hay graduated from the Caribbean Maritime University with big plans to establish his own business empire which includes a restaurant and a logistics company.

Fast forward to today, Brandon’s thriving Chinese take-out, Flamin Wok’, is among the many restaurants around the globe providing meals to healthcare workers who are actively fighting against the spread of the coronavirus.

“It was a fulfilling experience,” said Brandon, speaking about his coordinated food delivery to healthcare workers based at the Southern Regional Health Authority in Junction, St. Elizabeth. An initiative that was driven by one main instinct—to give back to those putting their lives at risk. “I really just wanted to thank our healthcare workers for getting up and going to work each morning, by giving them specially prepared meals from my restaurant.”

Many of those on the receiving end, work long hours at one of the busiest health care facility in St. Elizabeth.

“It is a busy Health Centre with a lot of visiting patients, so I had to ensure that the delivery was seamless, therefore, transport coordination was important” he explained. An aspect of his job that he believes he excels at, and naturally so, Brandon is a trained logistician, who earned his degree in logistics and supply chain management at the CMU.

“We do mainly take-outs, so I have to manage the supply chain process, to ensure that customers receive their orders on time,” he shared.

Currently, Brandon employs three additional persons. But like many other restaurant owners, he is grappling with uncertainty and the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on business operation. “All over the world restaurants and bars are closing their doors trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus,” he expressed. And given how widespread the current health crisis is, he said, “there is no guarantee when restaurant owners will be able to resume regular operations.”

Speaking about the impact of coronavirus on his business, Brandon said despite the financial setback, he remains optimistic. “There is no doubt that business has slowed since the outbreak, with fewer people choosing to eat out. But I am remaining optimistic that the situation will improve, not just for myself as a business owner, but for my employees, who themselves rely on the income to take care of their families,” Brandon told us.

Flamin Wok’ is a Chinese take-out located in Junction, St. Elizabeth.

Covid 19 and Independent Learning at the Tertiary Level

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It is no doubt that we are all currently living through challenging times. I’m hard-pressed to find anyone or anything that remains unaffected, even in a minute way, by this novel viral infection. In the wake of this pandemic we have all learned what we can and cannot do remotely.

As it relates to independent, active learning, whereas some countries are well ahead of the game, I am not certain if we in the largest English-speaking Caribbean country were, or are ready. Notwithstanding, I must commend the leaders of our prestigious tertiary institutions for quickly reacting to the crisis using the best means at their disposal. Some of our universities already had well established e-learning platforms whereas others were in their piloting phase. However, technological challenges aside, the crisis begs the question, are our students ready to learn on their own? Honestly, the answer concerning the majority of our university students would be a deafening no!

Is it the type of students enrolled? Is it our teaching style? I do not believe there is a panacea to this problem. And it would be foolish to think that this is a linear issue. It is a rather complex issue that comprises contributing factors that include: test taking skills, learning style, teaching style, aptitude, attitude and other socioeconomic factors. It is sad to observe that students who are growing up in such a technologically savvy era are indeed more lackadaisical than those of us who had less devices to assist us. These students who will readily utilize the Google search engine to find the answer for an assignment, seem incapable of utilizing the same engine when trying to submit an assignment, as a file that is too large to attach to an email.

No, I am not writing to lament about the students and their laisse faire attitude to learning. Neither am I solely blaming our educators. I believe the proverbial writing is on the wall. We need to objectively review our teaching styles in a manner that is more supportive of independent, online learning. A concept that, upon its inception was shunned, but now is the one tool we have in the toolbox. We need to find constructive ways in which we can gradually put learning back into the hands of those to whom it rightfully belongs…the student. It is my hope that out of this pandemic, and our race to stay ahead of the curve we are trying desperately to flatten, that concrete and feasible best practices will arise. The use of technology in learning has long been meandering its way into our classrooms. It is time to give it a place of prominence and nurture innovative, critically thinking, well rounded brilliant global citizens that will become the next generation of Nobel prize winners. It will not be easy, but neither is it impossible. Stay safe, stay smart and RESEARCH!

Time to deploy war assets to save lives

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A number of countries to include Russia and the United States have built up significant military assets to fight wars which have killed not only soldiers in battle, but innocent civilians. Other countries have followed those great powers and have developed significant military capabilities also. The pandemic Covid-19, which is posing the greatest threat to humanity in a generation requires a vast amount of resources to help in its containment. We have seen the death toll in Europe, Asia and North America and there is no end in sight for the spread of this deadly virus and the death of citizens. The crises have overrun hospital capacity and in some countries, people are just waiting to die. This lack of capacity and capability is taking place amid the largest built- up of military assets since World War II. The present situation has been classified by the President of the United States and others as a “War”, which in fact it is. If Covid-19 is a war, then the urgency of the moment beckons us into immediate action to deploy war assets to contain its spread. Those battleships are ideally suited to become floating hospitals to save lives. Sail them now in the war against Covid-19.

 

Author: Assan Thompson, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, JCF 

Head of Department             

Centre for Security, Counter terrorism and Non-Proliferation, CSCTN                             

Caribbean Maritime University

 

 

CMU TO ENLIST 3D PRINTING FLEET & EXPERTISE TO FIGHT COVID-19

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The Caribbean Maritime University today announces that its Centre for Digital Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing (CDIAM) will enlist its entire 3D Printing Fleet, its filament stock and engineering expertise to fight COVID-19.

Established in November 2017, the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the Caribbean Maritime University is the region’s Centre of Excellence for Additive Manufacturing technology and expertise.

“The Caribbean Maritime University is pleased to join the fight against  COVID-19,” says Erica Simmons, Executive Director at the Centre for Digital Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing (CDIAM) at the CMU, “The team has been preparing for a moment like this for over 2 years, we are ready to serve our nation and to provide our expertise at this critical time.”

With immediate effect, the CDIAM will begin to manufacture personal protective headgear which will be delivered to the Ministry of Health to be donated to healthcare professionals across Jamaica. 3D printing or additive printing technology, allows for the development objects using a digital computer aided design file and various printing materials. The materials used in 3D printing include several types of polymers, metals, and ceramics.  With over 20 Additive Technology machines of various levels, the CDIAM has been leading the push into this new manufacturing method.

The CDIAM has also been asked to join countrywide initiatives that aim to increase the collaboration at the Tertiary level between the universities.  In essence pooling our knowledge, technology and resources across all the institutions to tackle the nations challenges.

“The moment of true disruption in here” said Mrs. Simmons “We knew disruption was on the way, but never could we have imagined this.  However, from the ashes will rise a phoenix.  Now is the time for Jamaica to start reimaging our world, and commit to creating a fully digitally-savvy, innovation-driven society”.

For more information about 3D Printing at the CDIAM Follow us on Instagram at @cdiamja or visit our website at www.cmu.edu.jm/cdiam.

Education during and after Covid 19!

By | CMU News, Uncategorized

In the space of a few fleeting days, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has reshaped society in lasting ways. A global, novel virus that keeps us confined in our abodes—maybe for months—is already reorienting our relationship to government, to the outside world, even to each other. Every facet of society’s quintessential operation has been affected, and Schooling is no exception. Certainly, COVID-19 has altered how students are educated around the world and those changes give us a glimpse of how education could change for the better – or worse – in the long term.

With the coronavirus spreading rapidly across the globe, many countries have taken swift and decisive actions to mitigate the advancement of the full-blown pandemic. Jamaica has undeniably become a yardstick for other countries in this regard. In the past two weeks, there have been multiple announcements suspending attendance at schools and universities. As of March 17, the OECD estimated that more than 421 million children worldwide are affected due to school closures announced or implemented in over 39 countries.

These risk-control decisions have led millions of students into temporary ‘home-schooling’ situations, especially in some of the most heavily impacted countries, like China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. These changes have surely caused a degree of inconvenience, but they have also prompted new examples of ‘Educational Innovation’ if you will. Although it is too early to judge how reactions to COVID-19 will influence education systems around the world, there are indicators suggesting that it could have an enduring impact on the trajectory of learning innovation and digitization.

In a weird way, as far as Education goes, COVID-19 has forced us to act as paragons of the 21st century by discovering and embracing more technologically intensive methodologies of teaching, such as digital distance learning. Many studies suggest that these virtual means of schooling optimize schools’ outputs through greater use of information and communications technology (ICT).

If nothing else, the lesson I hope we take from the rapid spread of COVID-19 in an educational regard, is the importance of building resilience in our Education system to tackle various threats, from pandemic disease to climate insecurity, and yes, even, rapid technological change. The pandemic is also an opportunity to remind ourselves of the skills students need in this erratic world such as informed decision making, creative problem solving, and perhaps above all, adaptability. To ensure those skills remain a priority for all students, resilience must be built into our educational systems as well.

We must work together to ensure that resilience is built into our Education system, so that no child is left behind, whether it’s behind a desk at school, or in front of a screen at home!

Nahjae Nunes is a third-year student at the Caribbean Maritime University. Nahjae is a United Nations Youth Ambassador and occupies executive positions within several youth development organizations. 

The Real Fear of Terrorism – Major Public Safety Concern – Part 1

By | CMU News

Working in law enforcement for over forty years, has helped me to understand the view held by criminologists from across the world, that the fear of crime can be more serious and devastating than crime itself. I have seen in many communities where the effects of crime have generated so much fear and anxiety, to the extent where the lives of citizens have been disrupted beyond repair. The run for cover by hundreds of citizens in Times Square, New York on Tuesday, August 6, 2019, when popping sounds came from a motorcycle which was backfiring whilst it travelled along the roadway, is a classic example of how the fear of crime can affect the individual, community and country.  Those who were in that particular space and who rushed for cover could have caused a stampeded resulting in the injury or death of many or the destruction of property.

What were the people running from?

The people who scampered for cover were not running from the motor cycle itself, instead, they were running from what sounded like gunfire which has become too often the sound that has brought death, destruction and grief to the United States, which is classified as the world’s leading superpower. This superpower has not only prescribed security solutions for a number of developed and developing countries but have also intervened militarily in some countries to maintain law and order. Judging from the actions of the United States in helping other states with similar circumstances, one would imagine that they would possess both the will and capacity to deal effectively with this problem in their own country, to prevent further bloodshed. Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case.

The people were running away from the possibility of becoming a statistic from the many mass shootings which have taken place in the United States in recent times. Fresh in their minds were the two mass shootings which occurred hours apart, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio which together claimed the lives of over thirty people and causing the injury of dozens. The gun continues to be the weapon of choice in the commission of these mass murder.

Mass shootings United States 2019

According to Gun Violence Archive (GVA) which is a non-profit corporation in the United States, and which is responsible to provide free online access to gun violence information; mass shootings topped the days of the year for 2019. As of August 5, 2019, which was the 217th day of the year, there were 255 mass shootings reported across the United States. The GVA defines mass shooting as any incident where at least four persons were shot, excluding the shooter.

The shooting at Dayton, Ohio, claimed nine (9) lives and injured twenty-seven (27) persons, whilst the shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas left twenty-two persons (22) dead and at least twenty-four (24) wounded. These are the two most recent mass shootings that have generated considerable fear, panic and anxiety among citizens and visitors within the United States. GVA has reported that before the mass shooting in El Paso, the deadliest mass shooting for 2019 happened in a Municipal building in Virginia Beach, where a former city employee killed twelve (12) persons and injured four (4).

For the period January 1 to August 5, 2019, GVA published the total number of mass shootings, injuries and deaths as follows:
Total shooting incidents = 33, 237
Total gun deaths = 8796
Total injuries = 17, 480

The last time mass shootings topped the days of the year according to GVA was 2016, which ended with 382 mass shootings. 2017 and 2018 recorded 346 and 340 mass shootings, respectively.

Call those shootings at Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas by any other name, their motivation, modus, intent, objectives, and end state are consistent with terrorism criteria, notwithstanding the racial identity of the perpetrators.

Irony of the situation

The irony of the situation which makes it incomprehensible, is that whilst so many persons are being murdered by men who satisfy the terrorists criteria, the authorities have failed to designate these killers with the appropriate classification of “Terrorist”. The failure to designate them as terrorist, has hampered effective counter terrorism strategies to deal with the problem.

Strategies that would allow law enforcement to engage in activities such as wiretapping and financial investigations to identify terrorists financing and to deal with sponsors and facilitators of terrorism, may not be employed outside the terrorist designation. The internet which is a major source of radicalization of these killers will remain untouched once these perpetrators are not classified as terrorists, a designation which is readily given to international terrorists. Double standards have no place in the fight against terrorism, neither are euphemisms in crime classifications.

Terrorism criteria

In arriving at the terrorist classification there are a number of variables which must be weighed in the terrorism equation. Variables such psychology, sociology, motivation, intent, purpose, capability and end state. When these incidents in the United States are examined against international terrorism standard, they not only bear similarities with groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda but they are equal in most respect. The only identifiable difference is that the perpetrators are from within their own country and are in receipt of support from misguided person, who are blinded by conditions of race, colour and politics. Nothing would be wrong if they were designated the status of domestic terrorists. Law enforcement would have a better hand to counter their activities when they are so designated.

The psychology of the terrorists

Terrorists at the international or domestic level hold the belief that they are marginalized, the world or some group of persons are against them, the criminal acts they are carrying out are not wrong and it is for a good reason why they are behaving in such manner. The term “Freedom fighting” is often used by them as a euphemism to soften their crime. The greater part of their psyche predisposes them to inflicting mass casualty on vulnerable civilians and generate fear as was seen at Time Square, with the end state of forcing the citizens into submission so they will have total control over them. They will be happy and encouraged to carry on their activities when acts committed by them are blamed on other matters such as mental health, violent video games, family and community unattachment. Ambivalence cannot be part of the counter strategy to deal with terrorism.

Similarly, fear was generated from the 9/11 incident where up to today, persons who previously travelled on aircraft with only the fear of accidents, which according to the Federal Aviation Authority FAA are few and far apart, have hardly flown since that incident. That incident which is referred to as 9/11, has changed the conduct of travel and trade across the world. As travellers and traders suffer inconvenience whilst going about their business, the terrorists are likely smiling that their mission has been accomplished in creating fear, panic and anxiety in the aviation industry.

For any person or group of persons to lend support to people with this type of thinking, would be the clearest indication of them not understanding that crime affects the entire society and is not confined to the individuals against whom it is committed. In the proverbial term, “Today for me, tomorrow for you”. With the global village becoming smaller due to international travel and trade, what is happening in the United States can very well happen in other countries as was the case in Christ Church, New Zealand. In that incident, the terrorist who killed over fifty (50) people at worship was from another country.

The fear has become so widespread that Amnesty International has issued travel advisory, warning people traveling to the United States to be on the lookout for perpetrators of gun violence. They have warned citizens against attending places with large gathering such as schools, churches, bars, casinos, shopping malls, and cultural concerts. This warning has serious implications for business and social activities as these places which are listed are almost inescapable whether in the conduct of business or social engagement.

In arriving at a prognosis relating to the prevailing circumstances, guidance is taken from Ronald Akers, “Social Learning Theory” which makes the point that criminal behaviour is learnt through a process of socialization. With the unrestricted access to the internet and the “copycat” mentality, which is being actively played out in other jurisdictions, if strong counter measures are not taken, the situation will likely worsen. The article posted in the Washington Press on August 18, 2019 titled “Four different white men have been arrested for plotting mass shootings in two weeks” supports this theory”.

It begs the question therefore, “What must we do and when?”.

Part 2 of this article will address, “Countering Terrorism and Restoring Public Safety”.

Assan Thompson, Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, JCF
Head of Department
Centre for Security, Counter terrorism and Non-Proliferation (CSCTN)
Caribbean Maritime University

SUPPORT FOR CMU REMAINS HIGH AMONG INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

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Carnival Cruise Line has partnered with Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) to recruit employees to fill vacancies on board their fleet of passenger vessels. This is the first cruise line to employ graduates of the university and for Acting President, Ibrahim Ajagunna, this demonstrates the integrity of the CMU brand and the confidence international partners have in the university’s ability to produce competent and qualified, industry ready graduates. This he says is as a result of the university remaining focused on its key stakeholders – its students – keeping them as priority while investigations are being conducted. A total of 22 persons applied for placement; six as ratings/oiler, nine as engine cadets, and seven as deck cadets. Of this number, seven were selected and are now preparing serve onboard in the coming weeks. CMU congratulates Irandie Anderson, Dwayne Bennett, Jade D’shawn Goldnogl, Romane Carridice, Jordan Grant Maxwell, Fascel Daley and the only female, Seychelle Bailey. Carnival intends to return to Jamaica during August 23 – 26, 2019 to recruit persons within the hospitality area. We look forward to providing more talent through our cruise shipping and marine tourism programme.

Among the candidates that were interviewed is Seychelle Bailey, a final-year Marine Engineering student who said that the partnership with a major passenger vessel is a great achievement for the University. She shared that, “…this speaks to the level of respect they [Carnival] have for students/cadets trained here at CMU. This is the first recruiting batch, so I want to represent the CMU well and help to pave the way for other cadets—more specifically—female cadets”, she said.

Founded in 1972, Carnival, which currently operates 24 cruise ships, is said to be the world’s most popular cruise company, carrying more passengers than any other line. This is the second major partnership with a cruise line since the start of the year. In March, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean also visited CMU to discuss employment opportunities on board Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line, which could see several CMU students working onboard their vessels in the near future.

 

WHAT U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM THE ARMS TRADE TREATY WILL NOT DO FOR JAMAICA

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Most people who have been impacted by crimes which involve the use of guns in Jamaica have probably never heard of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The weapons that are commonly used to commit violent crimes on the island fall under the rubric of small arms, which is among the eight categories of conventional weapons whose sales and transfers between countries the ATT seeks to regulate.

The conventional weapons regulated by the Arms Trade Treaty are: battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms and light weapons (SALW). The ATT does not address emerging technologies such as drones, which are being increasingly employed in conflict situations and now being envisioned for deployment as lethal, offensive weapons.

Jamaica is among the 101 countries that have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty. The U.S., which is the world’s largest exporter of arms, has not ratified the Treaty, although it was signed by the Obama Administration in 2013. Neither have the world’s second and fifth largest exporter of arms, Russia and China, respectively. On April 26, 2019, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would rescind its signature to the Treaty on the basis that it threatens the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens.

The absence of the world’s largest arms exporters among the countries that are parties to the Arms Trade Treaty continues to raise concern about the growing proliferation of conventional weapons around the world. Critics of the ATT have long criticized its failure to prohibit states from selling arms to non-state actors, terrorists and states engaged in military aggression, perpetuating human rights abuses and human suffering, and undermining key aims of the Treaty.

In the case of Jamaica, the effect of U.S. rescission of its signature to the ATT is uncertain because a disproportionate amount of the small arms entering the region are not through government to government sales, which the Treaty regulates, but illicit weapons transfers. Most of these weapons are U.S. made and shipped from the U.S. Given the security measures instituted at U.S. maritime, air, and land borders after September 11, 2001, the continued arrival of illegal caches of small arms at Jamaican ports from the U.S. should raise hard questions about the complicity of state elements on both ends of the illicit trade.

U.S. withdrawal from the Arms Trade Treaty is unlikely to help stem the illegal arms trade in the Caribbean region. Countering the proliferation of illegal arms will require a significant hardening of the borders with enhanced application of intelligence and technological tools, as well as capacity enhancing training for personnel, and cross-boundary collaboration with international law enforcement entities. Sustained efforts in the education and training of youth who may be seduced by schemes which employ small arms as a trade —where the Caribbean Maritime University excels—will also be critical to this end.