Ministry of Education, Guyana

Tuesday, 12 February 2019 09:25

UG to beef up campus security

The University of Guyana (UG) will move to beef up security on its Turkeyen campus beginning from Wednesday, February 13, following two recent bomb threats made against the institution.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, UG received two threats stating that there was a bomb on campus. On Tuesday, the threat was made at around midday and classes were cancelled for the rest of the day, as members of the police force and fire department searched for any explosives on campus. No explosives were found and as such the university resumed normal operations on Wednesday.

However, on Wednesday, the university received yet another threat and subsequently closed the campus for the rest of the week to allow the administration to assess the situation and craft measures to protect against a recurrence.

“As a result of last week’s experience, my leadership team decided that we did not have the luxury of ignoring any threat,” Vice-Chancellor of UG Professor Dr Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith said at a press briefing held on Monday.

“We took seriously the threat on Tuesday, which led to evacuation; we took seriously the threat on Wednesday and mindful of the experiences of Tuesday and Wednesday, we recognise that we were not in an adequate preparation mode,” Griffith related.

To remedy the situation, the VC highlighted that the university now has to beef up security on the campus.

A few measures will be implemented from Wednesday that will focus heavily on enforcing the need for proper identification on campus, since the use of proper identification on campus has been very “lacklustre”, according to Professor Griffith.

“Beginning Wednesday, everyone will have to display an [Identification Card]. If you don’t have your staff or student ID, you’ll have to have some other form of identification to gain access to the campus”, he said.

He also noted that only persons possessing UG ID cards will be allowed access to the campus through the smaller, south gate.

And a “stronger approach” will be taken towards vehicles that do not have the UG sticker on them. This will include the conduct of random searches.

The measures being implemented from Wednesday will be monitored for two weeks and will subsequently be evaluated and modified, if necessary.

TASK FORCE

In addition to the measures being implemented from Wednesday, the university has put together a task force which will look into more long-term measures to bolster security. According to the VC, this task force is headed by Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr Barbara Reynolds.

There is a possibility that the university will seek to institute searches on all visitors on campus, if recommended by the task force. But that would require trained security personnel and more manpower, according to the VC, who also added that those could not be immediately achieved.

Additionally, he added that the campus has 51 buildings presently and the use of an electronic access system had been previously considered, but he ruled out the possibility of screening students, on the basis of striking a balance between enforcing security and invading personal space.

“There are a number of things we have to do [but] we do not have the luxury [of time] until that plan is done and approved,” the VC said.

All of the security measures will require students coming earlier and always in possession of some form of identification. And as such, the VC urged that students and staff understand the situation, but also increase the level of individual vigilance.

“We are doing it not because we want to harass people, but we are doing it because we want to ensure safety and security,” he said.

Source:http://guyanachronicle.com

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