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Carlton Spencer

Crisis vs Emergency

By | CMU News

The question of “What is the difference between a crisis an emergency” has been asked from time to time and by many persons. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University gives a reasonable interpretation of what distinguishes a crisis from an emergency. According to that well known and prestigious University, the distinguishing feature between a crisis and an emergency, “Is one’s ability to respond to the given situation”. The school further made the point that a crisis for some is a mere emergency for others. The outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus disease,  COVID-19 in the city of Wuhan, China was seen as a major crisis for the Chinese government.

Early assessment of the situation concluded that millions of people would have possibly died and human suffering would far outweigh all the disasters that the people of China have faced before. With a well thought out strategy, backed by effective command and control systems with trained people, accurate information and robust support structures, China has changed the course of history and has made a crisis into a mere emergency, which now stands as an example for the world to emulate.

When we look at the approaches being taken by several other states to deal with a similar threat clearly, we can see that something is missing from those approaches. In analyzing the Chinese strategy, a few essential takeaways come to the fore:

  1. The Commanders intent –The intent of the commander was clear and decisive. It was to prevent the further contracting and spread of the virus COVID 19. The commander knew the capability of the threat and accepted responsibility for the fix.
  1. Robust Command and Control System –The command structures were thoroughly organized and operated efficiently and effectively. Coordination was second to none, and the Chinese were able to achieve several critical objectives in a short period through this seamless coordination. The building of hospitals to house the sick is one of the shining examples of their coordinated efforts. Their communication was effective and void of fake news, which has the potential to cause panic and stress and by extension, make matters worse.
  1. Support Structures – The various support structures were in place from the military right down to the people who washed and kept the streets clean. They knew their task and carried out those tasks with the highest level of commitment.
  1. The discipline of the citizens – In times of crisis, the discipline of the citizens can be one of the determining factors which influence whether the objectives of the state are achieved. The Chinese displayed the highest level of discipline throughout the ordeal. However, the National Security apparatus was in place to protect the interest and survival of the state.

In concluding this short piece on Crisis vs Emergency, it must be highlighted that critical to one’s ability to respond to the given situation, is a robust system of command and control which must have people, information and support structures.


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

The Real Fear of Terrorism – Major Public Safety Concern – Part 2

By | CMU News

Part One of this publication examined the “Real Fear of Terrorism” and how it has affected the individual, community and state. It dealt with mass shootings in the United States, a phenomenon which has become increasingly popular for persons with terrorist intentions.

The document ended with the prognosis, that this type of terrorist activity and the spread of fear would likely continue or get worse, if tangible counter terrorism strategies were not employed to effectively address the current and emerging terrorist threats.

Part Two will now look at the “Counter measures to deal with terrorism and how to restore public safety”.

Countering terrorism, restoring public safety

Former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden makes the point that “Naming the problem is the only way to fixing the problem”. Whether you like or dislike the Vice President, his suggestion makes a lot of sense or is on point. My experience has taught me that crime is like a disease which if it to be fixed, must be properly diagnosed, named and prioritized for the appropriate solution.

It is in keeping with the diagnosing, naming and prioritizing of this type of problem why the United Nations developed a counter terrorism strategy to deal effectively with terrorism. The strategy is built on four fundamental pillars;

Pillar # 1 – Addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism.

Pillar # 2 – Preventing and combatting terrorism.

Pillar # 3 – Building states capacity and strengthening the role of the United Nations.

Pillar# 4 – Ensuring Human rights and the rule of law.

In light of what is happening north of us, all four pillars are extremely important, however since pillar # 1 seeks to address the matter of prevention, then serious attention must be paid to those issues which some persons and entities are positing as the cause for these terrorist act which are being played out in mass shootings across the United States.

The availability and accessibility to all types of firearms and ammunition, uncontrolled and unsupervised access to the internet, violent video games, unattachment from family and communities, untreated mental health condition, bigotry and gang affiliation are conditions which are conducive to the spread of terrorism and must be dealt with in order to counter terrorism. Ensuring human rights and the rule of law is an inescapable societal demand which must be effectively fulfilled.

Threat and risk assessments of terrorism

When we speak about threat and risk assessment, we are taking into account the danger, harm or loss that is lurking somewhere out there and the levels of exposure of the individual, community or state to the threat that is lurking. The current assessment is showing us that unlike previous terrorist attacks where explosives have been used, the preferred weapon in these recent incidents in the United States is the gun. High powered rifles with high performance magazines have featured in most of the mass shootings. Small arms are extremely portable and concealable and can be easily move from one country to another. Jamaica is experiencing severe firearms proliferation challenges and the main source country is the United States, which is having its fair share of challenges in the form of mass shootings.

It is an undeniable and undisputed fact that Jamaican are fond of guns. Guns are the weapon of choice in the commission of murders in Jamaica. The gun is featured in approximately eighty five percent of the murders committed in Jamaica. The Minister of National Security, The Honourable Doctor, Horace Chang, whilst addressing the Parliament of Jamaica stated that intelligence reports are suggesting that approximately two hundred illegal guns are imported into Jamaica each month.

With twelve months in the year, it means that 2400 illegal firearms are finding their way into the country. The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is reporting that on average per year, they are recovering approximately six hundred illegal firearms. With that said, approximately 1800 firearms would be left in the hands of criminals to carry out violent attacks against the Jamaican population, of three million people.

In making the connection between the United States and Jamaica, it is important to develop a checklist of the conditions that have given rise to the problems that the United States is experiencing and equate them with the Jamaican situation. We have unattached youths who hold the belief that families, friends and society have failed them. We have over two hundred gangs operating across the country and recruiting young people into their membership. These gangs are involved in transnational organized crime to include drug trafficking, firearms trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering. Our children are exposed to the internet and most times without supervision. The violent video games which are spoken about in the United States are available here in Jamaica and are used by children without adult supervision. Mental health issues are affecting both children and adult and sometimes it is hidden by family members who may consider it as a “taboo subject”.

We are witnessing incidents of suicide being committed by adults and children. Access to illegal firearms is fairly easy, especially through gang connection, some of which has their built in rental systems. We have human rights issues and low levels of hate crimes. The country has a murder rate which according to the JCF is averaging in excess of twelve hundred murders annually. Killing people is not a strange phenomenon in Jamaica. We are known to copy some of the bad examples like drive by shootings and cybercrimes as perpetrated in the United States.

When the checklist is analysed across the two spectrums, we see glaring similarities to the extent that we can no longer say, this cannot happen to our beloved country. All the risk indicators are showing that Jamaica is at an extremely low level on the risk ranking chart, but so was New Zealand when the terrorist who was from another jurisdiction, committed a major terrorist act which claimed the lives of approximately fifty people and has plunged that country into fear and panic. The worst thing any state could do is to render itself beyond the reach of the terrorist threat. Whilst the probability remains extremely low all things are possible, as terrorists are always looking for soft targets similar to El Paso and Dayton. With that realization, continued focus must be placed on terrorism counter measures which must be done from a proactive standpoint.

The way forward

The fear of terrorism can cause states to cower into hiding and hope the terrorists will pass them by, or the fear can generate the adrenaline that will put the state into fight mechanism to effectively tackle the terrorism challenge that is confronting the world. The United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy which comes out of the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, remains a useful reference document in dealing with terrorism related issues at this time. The four pillars form an effective blueprint to guide counter terrorism activities.

Fear, whether real or imagined, has its effect but let us at this time apply the fight mechanism and push back the terrorists. We could start by doing these things:

1. Condemning all forms of terrorism.
2. Remove euphemisms from terrorism classification. Call it what it is.
3. Commence terrorism awareness education to reach the mass of the people since they are most vulnerable.
4. Identify and dry up sources of terrorist financing.
5. Study and limit their access to the means that enable them to carry out their threats, with particular reference to firearms.
6. Address the conditions that give rise to terrorism.
7. Build state capacity to respond to the threat of terrorism. Capacity building must be done from a proactive standpoint.
8. Aggressively pursue and deal with sponsors and facilitators of terrorism.
9. Deal with human rights issues which have the possibility to cause decent and alienation.
10. Develop and promote the understanding that crime affects everyone and is not confined to the immediate victims.
11. Enforce the rule of law without fear or favour, malice or ill will.


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


By | CMU News

For the first time, Jamaica will have a female marine engineer officer aboard a Carnival Cruise Line vessel.

Seychelle Bailey, a final-year student at the Caribbean Maritime University, will join the engineering crew on the world’s most popular cruise company when they set sail in August.

The Linstead St. Catherine native told us that she sees this as an opportunity of a lifetime and she intends to represent the CMU, and gain additional competence,

“I’ve always wanted to work on-board a passenger vessel, so when I was selected—it was like a dream come through,” she said. “My main goal now is to use what I’ve learned at CMU and gain additional skills that will reduce human error while I am at sea.”

Speaking about her journey at CMU, Seychelle stated that it was always her desire to pursue a ‘non-traditional’ career, which influenced her decision to pursue a career at sea.

“I always wanted to do something different in terms of my career, so it wasn’t a hard choice,” she said. “I remember while at the Queen’s School, I did a career evaluation and discovered that my interests are more aligned with engineering field.”

This discovery led her to do additional research on careers in engineering, where she came across marine engineering—a male dominated field.

“It was while researching engineering degree programmes, I discovered CMU and its marine engineering programme.” She noted that there were some reservations about the career path, due to an article she read online, that described it as a ‘male dominated field’ However, after consulting with her father, and other members of staff at the CMU, she decided to pursue her dream.

“At first, I was a bit hesitant,” she said. “But looking at where I am today, and what I have achieved, I can say I made a good decision.”

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.

CMU Sails Toward Division II Football Title

By | CMU News

The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) strikers sailed into next season’s Division I Intercollegiate Championship – as serious championship contender.
CMU amassed a school league record of 20 points during the season, and three years after relegation, secured their spot at the elite level by qualifying for Saturday’s final.
But the players knew only a victory in the Saturday’s game would vindicate a season full of success, and in 90 minutes secured a 1-0 victory against Portmore Community College (PCC) at the Constant Spring Field, proving they could finish the job. It was Dennis Taylor who scored the winning goal, slipping behind the strong PCC defence in the 75th minute for a delayed – but crucial goal – conjuring a mixture of cheers and applause from the supporters. When the full-time whistle blew, the loud cheers summed up the attitude of the CMU fans.
The championship title was the triumphant culmination of an ambitious push by CMU’s sports department over the last year to rebuild the sports programme at the University.
CMU sports coordinator Stacy Ann Jack, who jointly manages the team with Stephan Williams, labelled the performance by the strikers as the best in recent time.
“I think this is one of the greatest seasons in the history of the league, based on the team’s performance,” she said after the game. “This victory will further motivate the players and other students to participate in similar sporting activities.”
The title was a particularly personal and professional victory for the two sports coordinators, who have borne a heavy share of the responsibility
The team will resume training in August 2018, with renewed focus on winning next year’s Division I championship.

CMU and CHILE Partner for Sustainable use of Marine Resources

By | CMU News

A collaboration initiative among the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the Embassy of Chile and the National Directorate of Maritime Territory of Chile (DIRECTEMAR) is actively advocating for the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resource within the Caribbean region through a workshop titled “Major aspects of Coastal Environmental Management Workshop” from October 17 to 20 in Kingston.

The workshop took place under the framework of the cooperation agreement between the DIRECTEMAR and (CHILE/UNDP) – which forms part of Chile’s effort to implement a technical cooperation for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In her presentation, CMU’s VP of Legal and International Affairs, Ms. Deniece Aiken, lauded the DIRECTEMAR and the Embassy of Chile for their contribution to environmental development in the Caribbean.

“This partnership with CMU represents an important milestone in engaging the Caribbean region about the protection and sustainable development of the marine environment,” said Ms Aiken. “CMU will be establishing a Centre for Renewable Energy and Climate Change, that will drive further research and introduce possible solutions to the issues being faced,” she added.

The overall objectives of the workshop were to develop the capabilities among the participants, and to contribute to the protection of the marine environment through environmental education and the management of liquid industrial residues, and the developments of contingency plans in cases of accidental oil spills and dumping.

The mode of delivery at the workshop was lectures from experts within the maritime industry in Chile who shared their environmental best practices in environmental management, climate change and marine life—with participants locally and across the region. They included: The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPEM), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), United Nations Environmental Report (UNEP), and various ports and environmental agencies across the region.

At the closing ceremony, Capt. Jorge Imhoff, of DIRECTEMAR expressed to participants the benefits of the workshop to the overall development of the maritime life and thanked CMU for its collaboration.
In order to maintain the mutual collaboration of this workshop, seven participants of the Workshop in Kingston will be invited to a second phase of the program, to be held in Chile in March 2018. The seven participants will be selected based on the progress status of their environmental management instrument in the subsequent months.

CMU’s Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing to offer 3D Printing

By | CMU News

The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) will launch the Dr. Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing – a state of the art center for additive manufacturing and digital prototyping on CMU’s main campus at Palisadoes Park in Kingston. The centre is being launched as a partnership between local and international supporters who have secured the deployment of cutting edge equipment and software, funding and expertise towards the establishment of the facility. International partners include Siemens, Ultimaker, Stratasys, @DotProduct, Autodesk and SSI, provide technical and technological support while local partnership with the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology and the Universal Service Fund (USF) provide endorsement and start-up funding respectively.

This centre will focus on digital innovation and advanced manufacturing and will be used to help close the skills gap needed for students to compete in the 4th industrial revolution. The launch of the facility demonstrates the university’s thrust to diversify and enhance the quality of its offerings through technology and innovation. It also signals the establishment of the largest and most sophisticated advanced manufacturing and 3D printing service provider and training centre in the Caribbean. Under the ambit of the CMU the centre will not just be a service provider but a research hub for generating practical solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s manufacturing problems through innovation by bringing both students and industry practitioners together through technology.

According to Professor Fritz Pinnock, President of CMU, “additive manufacturing or 3D printing is another key area where we are seeing the demand from industry for a workforce that has this skill,” said “through a collaboration with the USF, we have been able to acquire the most sophisticated fleet of 3D Printers here in Jamaica and throughout CARICOM.” Executive Director.

The centre will be headed by first Executive Director, Mrs. Erica Simmons a technology leader and advocate who has held a variety of leadership positions at Siemens AG, Oracle Corporation and Expedia. She brings a strong technical background, outstanding management experience and an international network of contacts to start and sustain the centre. “Additive manufacturing has already been identified as the next wave of manufacturing. Many international companies are already utilizing this technology in a variety of interesting ways,” said Mrs. Simmons. She adds, “we too will be performing a variety of research and development projects. It is an honor to be able to lead this initiative and work with our international partners and suppliers to implement the state of the art technology. I know that centre will bring immense value not only to CMU but to Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.”

The centre will be named in honor of Dr. Andrew Wheatley, Minister of Science Energy and Technology and a champion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He is a graduate of the Prairie View A & M University and Imperial College at the University of London. Dr. Wheatley is also a British Commonwealth Scholar who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry (Hons.) as well as a Doctorate in Basic Medicine. A Senior Lecturer in Basic Medicine and a Research Scientist at the University of the West Indies, his work includes studies in the areas of Diabetes Management; Reversal of the Effects of Cocaine Addiction; Genetic Engineering against Disease and Stress Conditions; Pharmaceutical Properties of Indigenous Materials and Tissue Culturing.

Dr. Wheatley has had numerous publications in International Peer-Reviewed Journals. In addition, he has, to his credit, two local and two international patents. His vision is for the Ministry to become the driving force that propels Jamaica’s transition into a world-class society through innovation in its portfolio areas of Science, Energy and Technology, thereby creating avenues for employment and national development that ultimately fuels growth.

Minister of Science and Technology is confident in CMU Graduates

By | CMU News

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, expressed his confidence that graduates from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) are pivotal to the Government’s growth and development strategy, in a news story published by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) on October 4, 2017.

Dr. Wheatley was quoted in the JIS online news story as saying, “the newly established Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) is well-positioned to produce graduates capable of playing key roles in furthering Jamaica’s development.” He described the relationship between the Government of Jamaica and CMU as “ambitious and aggressive.” A relationship that has birthed state of the art simulators, and training equipment for the university – through grant funding from the Universal Service Fund (USF) amounting to approximately $450 million JMD.

According to the minister the training offered at CMU: feeds seamlessly into the technology and innovation agenda of his ministry and the demands of private sector entities. In concluding, he alluded to the university’s in-demand specialized degree programmes, and the Ministry’s continued support towards the development of CMU. “Knowledge is the key factor that will determine the competitive edge of the (logistics and maritime) industry and our country, as a whole. I assure you that the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology fully supports and will continue to support the Caribbean Maritime University,” he added.

Minister Wheatley was quoted from his speech at the recently held Caribbean Maritime University’s Charter Day, on September 28, 2017, at the National Arena.

The original JIS news story can be viewed here.

CMU’s new Chancellor Arrives in Jamaica

By | CMU News

His Royal Majesty King Drolor Bosso Adamtey I of Ghana, the first Chancellor of Caribbean Maritime University – arrived on the island on Monday, ahead of CMU’s Charter Day Ceremony on Thursday.

He and his delegation were met by several executive officials of the Institute. Among them were Executive Director, Dr Fritz Pinnock, Director of Legal Affairs, Ms Deneice Aiken, and Director of the School of Marine & Captain Johnny Pretel.

King Adamtey I is expected to be officially installed as Chancellor on Charter Day in front of a packed National Arena, which will include Heads of State, members of the Diplomatic Corps, partners of the university, along with current and past students.

Caribbean Maritime Institute expands programme options

By | CMU News

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) will be expanding its curricula and programme options with its engineering department, to be launched soon. The $500-million facility, to be named FESTO Didactic Centre, will offer training in the field of industrial automation and mechatronics.

Executive director at the CMI, Dr Fritz Pinnock, said that the world-class centre will focus on areas such as robotics engineering, hydraulics and pneumatics. The centre will be implemented in partnership with German company FESTO Didactic, a world leader in industrial automation technology training.

It will produce certified technicians needed for the maintenance and operation of ports to meet not just the demand in Jamaica, but also regional and international demand. “It is about transforming engineering across the sphere. We will be doing research in engineering with medicine and looking at bionics,” Dr Pinnock outlined, adding that the whole idea is to bridge the gap and make use of opportunities that these areas may create.