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CMU News

Police Efficiency vs Police Action

By | CMU News

Police action is oftentimes taken for police efficiency not only by members of the public but also by some members of the force who readily highlight outputs but not outcomes. This mistake will be made because of the absence of factors and criteria relating to the test for police efficiency. In the absence of these factors and criteria which are needed to measure police efficiency, we will have to rely on the authority from credible sources as we would with Pythagoras and mathematics, Oxford and the English language, Newton and Physics, and Maslow and motivation. In the case of police efficiency, an extremely credible source on the subject comes to us from Sir Robert Peel a former Commissioner of police of the London Metropolitan Police Force. According to Peel, the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

 Favour is found with Peel’s criteria for testing police efficiency as it is consistent with the objectives of any sensible police force which is to prevent crime and disorder and maintain peace. Where these objectives are not being achieved, both the police and the citizens will shift their attention from measurable outcomes to wishful thinking. It is through this wishful thinking that failure to achieve police efficiency is overlooked for visible policing actions, which have been tested time and time again without achieving desired outcomes. Placing a policeman at every intersection in the corporate area would look good, but it would not necessarily create police efficiency it may cause more chaos and congestion than if we allow the traffic lights to work on their own. Having joint operations with the military and the police without clear and achievable objectives will not achieve police efficiency. Establishing zones of special operations and states of public emergency just to satisfy the wishful thinking of the public will not achieve police efficiency. Police efficiency will only be achieved when crime and disorder are brought under control and not when visible evidence is seen of police action in trying to deal with it.

The police must now begin with the end in mind which is to remove crime and disorder from society. They will not be able to eradicate crime but at least, bring it to a manageable and tolerable level. The police must understand the difference between police action “inputs ” and police efficiency ” outcomes “. Based on our present circumstances we could begin with strategic leadership which is a type of leadership with a long-term vision for the organization but also have a short-term focus on the contemporary challenges of the country as it relates to crime and disorder.  This leadership should be prepared to identify, prioritize, and solve those challenges. This strategic leadership must be drilled down to the lower levels of the organization where managers and supervisors are given the requisite authority and responsibility and are held accountable for achieving the objectives of the force. They must hold those under their command similarly accountable. Strategic leadership must be built solidly on a foundation of performance management where failure and mediocrity are not options. If the force accepts failure for any reason, it will never achieve police efficiency based on the criteria set out by Sir Robert Peel.

This is the first of a two-part article. In part #2 we will look at how to achieve police efficiency in a changing and dynamic society.


Assan Thompson is a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police who is the Head of Department for the Centre for Security, Counter Terrorism and Non-Proliferation at the Caribbean Maritime University.  He holds a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the University of the West Indies, Mona.  He lectures extensively in the area of Security Studies.


By | Announcements, CMU News

Kingston, Jamaica – The Caribbean Maritime University has received an additional twenty (20) laptops from the American Caribbean Maritime Foundation (ACMF) in keeping with its mandate to provide access to maritime education. This comes after the ACMF’s donation of eighteen (18) laptops to the CMU in October 2020.

“With the blended modality of learning still in place at the CMU, we are elated that even more students will be able to access online classes,” Professor Noel Brown, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Accreditation, commented at a handover ceremony on Thursday, May 26, 2022. Professor Brown highlighted that roughly 19% of the student population is unable to participate in online classes or complete assignments and examinations.

CEO of the ACMF, Dr. Geneive Brown Metzger underscored the importance of this longstanding “academic partnership” between the two entities, as the ACMF is committed to the vision of the CMU to educate a cadre of maritime professionals who are vital to the global supply chain. The strong partnership between the ACMF and the CMU has seen students benefitting from millions of dollars in scholarships and donations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand the challenges that students continue to have because of the disruption caused by the pandemic, and we hope these laptops will help meet some of those needs. Thanks to MSC Cruises, who made the donation of the laptops possible,” Dr. Brown Metzger stated.

The ACMF’s continued contribution to the CMU was reiterated by Professor Ibrahim Ajagunna, Deputy President, and Dr. Eron McLean, Vice President of Planning and Development who were also in attendance at the handover event. Dr. McLean, speaking on the donation said, “a laptop is a basic tool every student needs, but not everyone has. It is a worthy contribution.”

Also, on hand at the ceremony, was Marina Anselme, Secretary-General of the MSC Foundation located in Switzerland, a donor to the ACMF. Ms. Anselme expressed her gratitude for being a part of this venture, stating, “We believe in inclusive education which leads to purpose fulfillment. We want to ensure we are outputting responsible citizens, especially those who will contribute significantly to the blue planet.”

The laptops will be loaned to students who are disadvantaged and are available at the school’s library facility as the CMU continues to anticipate and find solutions to student needs.

Arizona State University team visits the CMU to discuss possible collaboration

By | CMU News
A two-member team from Arizona State University in the United States visited the CMU on Monday, November 15, 2021, for about two hours to discuss possible collaboration between the ASU and the CMU. The visit is part of work being done by the CMU Office of Digital Transformation in collaboration with several CMU units such as the Faculty of Engineering, the Centre for Security, Counter-Terrorism and Non-Proliferation, CSCTN, and the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, CDIAM.
The ASU is rated number one in the United States in terms of innovation and the team came to discuss ways in which the two universities could possibly collaborate on digital innovation and cyber security projects.

CMU a key partner in a regional port development initiative

By | CMU News, Uncategorized

June 1, 2021 (Kingston, JA) – The Caribbean Maritime University today announces that it will be a part of the INTERAMERICAS GATE project, a collaborative Caribbean partnership to develop better tools to aggregate and visualize key maritime port economic and environmental data. Led by the Antilles-Guiana Interport Coordination Council (CCIAG), the INTERAMERICAS GATE is a multi-partner project between the Grand Port Maritime of Guiana, the Grand Port Maritime of Guadeloupe, the Grand Port Maritime of Martinique, the Galisbay Port of Saint-Martin and the Caribbean Maritime University through our Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing (CMU-CDIAM).

The project is funded by the INTERREG Caribbean, a European Territorial Co-operation programme that allows operators in Guadeloupe, Guiana, Martinique and Saint-Martin to implement win-win projects with their neighbors in the Caribbean. The INTERREG operational programme makes it possible to finance numerous cooperation projects between Caribbean territories. In this case from the Guaine Shield to the Caribbean, this project will use data as a bridge to understand more about key port economic data in the region. The INTERREG Caribbean funding made it possible to integrate the CMU-CDIAM in Jamaica as an extra-community partner.

The global maritime industry is strategic to economic development of nations especially in small island states like those in the Caribbean region. Data and information have now emerged as some of the most important assets that a country/region can develop. Tapping in to and sharing key port data across the region can make Caribbean ports more competitive drivers of regional growth and development. The CMU-CDIAM will lead the technical development of the web-based platform that will combine datasets from the 4 port partners with machine learning algorithms to help the regional port authorities get a better picture of the threats, opportunities, weaknesses, and strengths found in the consolidated port economic and environmental data.

“This project brings together the best of the CMU’s capabilities — our knowledge in the maritime sector and our expertise in digital transformation technologies,” said Erica Simmons, Executive Director, CMU-CDIAM, “We know the importance of data and information as the foundations of digital transformation, and we are committed to contributing the transformation of our Caribbean maritime sector.”

The collaborative 3-year project will begin with collecting data such as annual tonnage, annual TEUs, traffic and passengers from 4 ports but eventually be extended to include all Caribbean ports and more data points. For more information about the INTERAMERICAS GATE visit:


New Interim CMU President earns Professor Emeritus title

By | CMU News, Uncategorized

The interim President of the Caribbean Maritime University Professor Evan W. Duggan is being conferred with the title of Professor Emeritus by the University of the West Indies.

The UWI, which made the announcement recently, has also approved recommendations to confer the title of ‘Emeritus’ on UWI Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry, Ishenkumba Kahwa.

The ‘Emeritus’ designation generally allows former office-holders of The UWI to retain their titles of ‘Professor’ after retirement.

Professor Duggan officially joined the CMU on June 1 of this year.


Professor Duggan officially concluded his time at the University of the West Indies on July 31, 2014 upon retirement. After having served for two (2) years as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, he continued his Deanship on two consecutive post-retirement contracts, until 2016. Professor Duggan served the University of the West Indies for a total of ten years, having been with the Department of Management Studies (now the Mona School of Business and Management) as a Professor since 2006.

He began his career in industry with Alcan, Jamaica where he attained the highest level in the Information Systems (IS) field, equivalent to today’s Chief Information Officer. This was followed by an outstanding career in academia, first with the University of Alabama and then with The University of the West Indies. His impact, in terms of teaching and learning, at The UWI was felt even before he was appointed to a full-time position as he would visit Jamaica to lecture in the Masters programme in Computer-Based Management Information Systems. The students always spoke highly of his teaching skills and, perhaps more importantly, of his interest in ensuring that they succeeded in their academic endeavours. These qualities remained with him throughout his career at The UWI. In 2005, while on sabbatical leave from the University of Alabama, he was appointed visiting professor for one year; he never left as he took on a permanent position as a Professor of Management Information Systems in 2006. His impact was immediate and lasting.

Professor Duggan played an integral role in the design, implementation and management of the PhD in Information Systems programme. This programme, at the time, was novel to UWI in terms of its design, as it was structured to have a two-year taught component followed by a dissertation. It was also a one-time delivery for a core of students and intended to increase expertise in the then new field of information systems. The limited expertise in the field locally also gave rise to a key component of the success of the programme – the participation of overseas academics, some of whom were members of the diaspora, in the supervision of students.

The success of the programme can, in large part, be attributed to Prof Duggan; not only did he supervise or sit on the supervisory committee for several students but, importantly, it was his networking skills that won the commitment of international scholars. The success of the programme can be measured by the students’ completion rate, their research output, the number of the graduates of the programme who are now key members of the academic community of UWI and the continued support given, in various ways, by some of the supervisors. The same structure was later used for the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme and again Professor Duggan was not only integral in its conception, in terms of its design and approval, but also in the teaching and supervision of students. No matter their level, his interest in and mentorship of students has been exemplary.

During his time as Professor of Management Information Systems, he took on substantial administrative roles. By 2007, he was the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for the Faculty of Social Sciences. In 2008, he was appointed Executive Director of the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), an appointment which lasted for four years.

While at Mona School of Business and Management, Professor Duggan worked assiduously to improve the image of the School. He was instrumental in gaining Association of MBA’s (AMBA) accreditation for the Master of Business Administration programme in 2011. AMBA describes its accreditation as the highest standard in Postgraduate Business Education and it is recognised internationally as the global standard for all Master of Business Administration, Master in Business Management and Doctor of Business Administration programmes.

Professor Duggan has supervised seven doctoral students to completion between 2009 and 2016, with several others in process and served on the dissertation committees of over fifteen others. He has also taught a variety of courses including the Research Process, Decision Sciences, Information Systems Management, Information Technology and Business Strategy, Information Technology, Governance, Operations Management, Electronic Commerce, Database Management, Systems Analysis and Design, Software Development and Statistical Analysis.

He established the Professional Services Unit (PSU) with the objective of diversifying the revenue streams of the School thereby placing less reliance on graduate degree tuition fees. This Unit has been extremely successful in fulfilling this mandate through executive education, customised training and management consulting. The Unit has also strengthened relationships between Mona School of Business and Management and, by extension the wider University, and the business community. He also established the Centre of Excellence (CoE) for IT-enabled innovation. The work of this unit has also built relationships with the business 3 community locally and internationally and has been at the forefront of advocacy and research in Open Development approaches. He is a founding member of the Caribbean Open Institute – the regional hub in the global Open Data for Development Network.

In addition to these administrative roles in the School and Faculty, Professor Duggan served the wider UWI community. This service included: Academic Board Representative to the University Senate (2012- 2016), Member of the University Council (2011-2016), Member of the Board of Directors of Universal Media Company (NewsTalk 93FM), Member of the Mona Campus Council (2008-2016), Member of the Finance and General-Purpose Committee (F&GPC) (2011-2016), Member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Tourism and Policy Research (2010-2016), UWI-Mona representative on the Steering Committee to Establish the UWI Competitiveness Centre (2010- 2013),UWI representative on the CARICOM ICT Sub-committee on ICT Statistics (2007-2012) and a Member of the Campus Committee for Graduate Studies (2007-2008).

His international academic reputation is based on his outstanding research and publications record. This is further demonstrated by his appointments to the editorial boards of several international journals and his ability to network with international scholars in the field of Information Systems and their willingness to support and contribute to his initiatives for example the delivery of the PhD in Information System and Doctor of Business Administration programmes.

Professor Duggan’s stellar performance did not go unnoticed. His research output includes one refereed book, eight book chapters, twenty journal articles and over twenty refereed conference proceedings as well as other non-refereed publications. It should be noted that Information Systems conference proceedings are most often refereed and acceptance is based on the submission of a full paper. His research expertise has also been recognised locally as he was involved in the preparation of a significant report entitled “E-Powering Jamaica: The National ICT Strategic Plan 2007-2012” for the Government of Jamaica’s Central Information Technology Office (CITO), Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce. Professor Duggan also received a number of Faculty of Social Sciences Research Awards including:

• Best Research Publication (2018)
• Research Project Attracting The Most Research Funds (2018) 4
• Principal’s Award for the Project with the Greatest Multidisciplinary Cross Faculty Collaboration (2015); and
• Research Project with the Greatest Business/Economic/Development Impact (2013).

His positions on the editorial boards of recognised international journals include:
• Associate Editor, Communications of the Association for Information Systems
• Section Editor, African Journal of Information Systems
• Editorial Advisory Board Member, Journal of Organizational and End User Computing
• Editorial Board Member, International Journal of Information Technology Project Management • Global Editorial Advisory Review Board Member, Idea Group Inc. Publishing Company
• International Editorial Review Board Member, Advances in End User Computing (Book Series)

He has also reviewed manuscripts for a number of other international journals on an ad hoc basis.

His contribution in terms of the criterion public service has been significant. He has sat on a number of boards including National Commercial Bank Insurance Company (NBCIC) (2013-2016), Jamaica Public Service Company (2012-2015), Jamaica Diaspora Foundation (2009-2016), UWI Solutions for Developing Countries (UWISODECO) (2012- ) and the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) (2013-2016). He was Chairman of the Board of Directors for both eGOV Jamaica Ltd (2013-2016) and is currently the chairman of SynCon Technologies Ltd, a position he has held since 2008. He was a member of the Board of Trustees and a Faculty and Research Affiliate of the ICT University (a US-based institution providing quality ICT and human capacity development specifically targeted for Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia (2011), a member of the Governing Council of National Commercial Bank’s Corporate Learning Campus (2008-2016), and a member of CARICOM Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) subcommittee on ICT Statistics (2007-2012). His exemplary service to local and international development has elevated the profile of The UWI and helped to strengthen relationships with the business community.

Professor Evan Duggan’s outstanding contributions to University life in a variety of spheres have included the areas of teaching and learning, administration, research and publications and public service make him an excellent candidate for this designation. Based on his outstanding performances in all aspects of his professional career, the title of “Professor Emeritus” was conferred upon him by The UWI, Mona.



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. 

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


By | CMU News, Uncategorized

The Caribbean Maritime University is re-engineering its annual Sports Day activities as the CMU supports the country’s push to develop traditional as well as non-traditional sports ahead of the Tokyo Olympics set to take place later this year.

“For us at the CMU, sports is not just about physical activity,” says Director of Student Affairs, Donnet Phillips. “We want to underscore its role not just in the development of individuals but in Jamaica’s development,” she says.

Ms. Phillips explains that “this year the CMU is pushing the agenda far beyond simply having a day of competition as we traditionally do.” Instead of the usual one day event, the CMU has designed a Weekend of Activities to begin on March 13, 2020 at Stadium East in Kingston. That day of competition – which begins at 9 in the morning – will see CMU students and staff participating in track and field events as well as non-traditional sports such as cheerleading.

“When one considers that the CMU is leading the national effort in areas such as fencing, cheerleading and rowing,” says Acting CMU President Dr. Ibrahim Ajagunna, “it is imperative that we expose our students to a high standard sporting event while ensuring that this is done in a cost-effective manner.”

Ms. Phillips adds that the CMU wants to highlight the fact sportsmen and women have a lot to contribute to the nation’s development. “That’s why the next two days on the Sports Weekend calendar are dedicating to supporting other organisations, using sports as a catalyst,” she explains.

On Saturday March 14, 2020, CMU sportswomen and sportsmen as well as students and staff will take part in a charity event to give back to an organisation in need in Kingston. On Sunday March 15, 2020 CMU staff and students will partner with the Kingston City Run with students serving as event marshals and members of the university also taking part in the run itself.

Pointing to the Jamaica Moves initiative, Ms. Phillips says the CMU “views this approach as an opportunity not just to serve the community but, in our own small, way, to support an event that is really about celebrating the vital importance of sports to the nation’s development.”


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