Why has smartphones not helped Jamaica’s crime fighting efforts ?

One would be of the believe that given the technology that is embedded in smartphones, we would have  observed more people providing information to the cops in stealth mode via their smartphones.  There are hundreds of thousands of smartphone across Jamaica, with the capability to record video, take pictures and upload this information a multitude of online sites including the police, but yet very little of the crime taking place in Jamaica, makes it to this medium, why?

We have no problem filming and uploading the operations of our security forces, neither does the sight of blood and core deter us from uploading images of dead bodies at accidents scenes, but Jamaicans will never film (stealthily) and uploading videos or images of criminals in action, why?

You can expect to see images coming out from the ZOSO taken by Mount Salem residents, but what you will never see is images of guns being hidden in backyards so the security forces can remove them from the streets.

We are our own enemies, bawling for state protection when gangsters whom we support suddenly turn on us, but provide full support as long as they don’t trouble anyone from our families.

One is left to wonder how do you police a criminal state such as Jamaica, where even those who are given the authority to ensure peace and safety are themselves part of that problem.

No crime fighting effort will ever work without the support of our citizens, but with a criminal state of mind of some many amongst us, it is going to to be a long and hard battle.

 

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Why is the construction sector up in arms with the CHEC and others?

The Jamaican population for decades have been suffering at hands of local contractors, who have been awarded government contracts, which they have then  subcontracted to others, who then subcontract to others. At the end of all these serial subcontracts, you end up with projects that are late and subjects to millions of dollars in cost overrun which have to be paid for by you and I ie the tax payers.

We now have a situation where the Chinese players have entered into major contracts with the GOJ, which are being done in record time, as these folks work day and night to meet their contractual obligations. In addition to this, many of these projects are funded by the Chinese entities, which removes the burden from the tax payers of this country, given the generous terms that have been negotiated .

In the last few years, I have not heard of a major project that has had a cost overrun or have been late, which is supposed to be good for the country.

All the above in most countries would be good signs, not so in Jamaica, a country which has been used to making a “killing” off poorly supervised government contracts. The fact that we have all positives mentioned above, is not good for many in this country and one is therefore left to ask, why?

The answer is not what you have been given about unfair competition, because of concession given to the Chinese contractors( not that this is not the case). I posit that the real reason is the loss of access to billions of dollars in earnings from poorly executed projects, which have resulted in cost overrun, that is the meat of the matter.

Nothing prevents the major companies in Jamaica from forming joint ventures and scaling up, they have the equipment and expertise to do so, so why this is not happening. The answer is simple, no one is willing to share in the spoils of the pork barrel, so its all or nothing.

For the first time in decades we see major infrastructural work being done and we don’t hear any word on “cost over runs”, which means the Jamaican public is finally getting value for money.

I say to the GOJ, stay the course, its time for tax payers of this country to get a break and stop being taken for a ride by those who seek to place their interest ahead of that of the country .

 

Peter Bunting represents the kind of leader Jamaica cannot afford to have.

Many of us listened with amazement to a youtube video, where the former ( yes former) potential leader of the PNP, Peter Bunting, was seen and heard, basically questioning the presence of the Chinese in Jamaica.

Peter appears to be suffering from Dementia or gross intellectual dishonesty, by taking this position when his government totally embraced the Chinese and all the projects they have laid down here in Jamaica.

The Chinese government like those before them have been very good to us, laying down major infrastructural projects, that country desperately needs but cannot afford. One should note that these projects are not 2 year, 5 years or even 10 years projects, these are projects that will last for generations if properly maintained and will outlive many of us. How therefore can one explain Mr Buntings seemingly irrational behaviour after less than 2 years in opposition?

One thing I can say for sure, is that the Phillip Paulwell camp, is sitting back laughing at the dumb statements being made by Bunting, who has moving away from being the next leader and into oblivion once Paulwell emerges as the new leader. Frankly I shudder at the thought of either of these two people ever becoming Prime Minister of this country.

Jamaicans need to take note of all the comments being made by Peter Bunting and make it very clear that he certainly does not represent the future of Jamaica. Hopefully between now and 2036 a new leader can emerge as neither do I wish to see Paulwell ever become Prime Minister of this country.

The Jamaican population needs to shun Peter Bunting and send him into political wilderness, before he destroys our relationship with our foreign partners .

Crime fighting strategy formula brain vs brawn.

I have been on social media all week, literally complaining about our propensity to complain about everything, even when the issue being complained about is a proposal to solve a problem that we have  identified.

I am not bashing complaints per se, but frankly I am fed up with who, I shall now call “serial complainers” , those who seem to just complain because they have a forum and an audience.

I am however more solution oriented, I will complain, or comment on an issue and in most cases tries to offer what I consider to be a viable alternative.

Crime is one of, if not the biggest problem in Jamaica today and despite the many task forces, crime plans etc, we have not been able to break the back of this monster.

I am offering up to the Minister of National Security and the JCF what I believe is one of the pillars on which all future crime strategies can be built on.  This not something new coming from me, as I have made these suggestions before.

Strategy Formulation  #1

Information technology and Intelligence gathering

 

  1. GOJ should seek funding either by grant or loan( or a combination of both) from the European union, the government of China, USA , Germany and France to do the following.
    1. Purchase at least 200 desktop computers, one for every police station across the country( We have at least 190 stations).
    2. 20 higher end desktop computers 5 for each of the 4 Area Headquarters in Jamaica
    3. 57 computers , 3 each for the 19 divisional headquarters across the country. ( All computers here must have USB & DVD access disabled before going into use)
    4. 50 computers at the soon to be established Data Analytics and Intelligence Gathering Center
    5. Acquisition and installation of CCTV systems in St Catherine, Hanover, Kingston and St Andrew, Clarendon and St James.
    6. 38 Server 2 each for the divisional headquarters
    7. 10 server for , 2 each for the area headquarters
    8. 10 servers for the Data Analytics and Intelligence center( 5 back up)
    9. High speed internet routers .
    10. Network design and layout connections to link all these computers on a common network and feed all data to the Data Analytics and Intelligence Gathering Center
    11. Recruitment and training of IT specialist to setup the system to facilitate the integrate, CCTV system into local, area, divisional and Data Analytics and Intelligence Center
    12. Recruitment of at least 10 Data Analytics experts to use data mining processes to extra useful information from all the collected crime statistics and trends to help formulate strategic, tactical and operational crime fighting plans.
    13. Installation of network security to prevent unauthorized access from interval staff and hacking
    14. Work with UWI, UTECH and other universities to fund Data Analytics training courses for person who are interested in working in this unit.

 

More to follow in the coming weeks.

What really happened at RIU, which led to that explosion

Last week Thursday, we got the sad news that an employee( now we hear he is the Maintenance Engineer/Manager) died and three others were injured in an explosion in the Boiler Room at RIU Montego Bay.

Since the incident, there appears to have been a news blackout and nothing appears to be coming from anyone in relation to what may have transpired.

In the absence of information, I will seek to present some likely scenarios as to what may have occurred and what could have led to this taking place.

Firstly, given the fact that the Manager was in the room at the time, one can reasonable assume there may have been a problem and he was there to assist his team in finding a solution.

What do we know

  1. We know there was an explosion, but we are not sure what type
  2. We know one person died and others had severe burns.

Some back ground.

A boiler is a steam generating device that produces steam at a very high pressure, depending on the use of the steam and type of boiler. Think of the Boiler being something like a  pressure cooker.

The process involves essentially heating water  in tubes( or jacket) to create superheated steam ie steam at high temperature and  pressure, which is then transferred via insulated pipes to provide hot water for laundry, steam for ironing at the laundry etc.

The process starts by what is called a purging cycle, at this stage all unburnt hydrocarbons in vapour form are removed from the burner chamber before ignition takes place. Unburnt hydrocarbons such as LPG which is used as an initiator could result in an explosion when the ignition electrodes sparks to begin the combustion  process.

The Boilers combustion controls is the device that starts the ignition process, before the fuel valve opens to allow the main fuel to enter the combustion chamber to begin combustion.

Boilers are extremely safe pieces of equipment when operated according to the recommended specifications. These equipment have a multitude of safety devices along with redundant devices and in the event one failure there is a back up. If the back up fails, it fails in what is called a “fail safe” manner, ie its failure should not result in a major catastrophic situation.

Therefore there can be namely two type of explosion

  1. Fire explosion
  2. Steam explosion.

The Fire explosion would most likely occur at the ignition stage which could result in the front or back door blowing off, if its is horizontal Boiler. For a Vertical Boiler depending on  the make the failure would be different.

Safety Devices for this stage

  1. Boiler flame detection sensors and switches
  2. Purge controls
  3. High oil temp
  4. High oil pressure
  5. Low air pressure
  6. Main flame cut out

 

Steam Explosion

For a steam explosion , there could be a number of reasons causing this namely

  1. Stuck steam blow off valves ( Boilers typically has two) which must be tested daily and verified once per year ( GOJ regulations)
  2. Low water alarm alarm and shutdown
  3. High water level alarm and shutdown
  4. etc maybe as much as 30-40 in total.

For a steam failure to occur it would be excessive pressure built up in the Boiler, which cannot escape

So for a Boiler to explode in means possible multiple safety devices failed or safety devises were bypassed ( common term is bridged out). When this occurs, the safety device no longer operates as it should, which allows an unsafe situation to continue undetected, ultimately leading to  catastrophic failure.

I hope the results of any investigation is made public, so it can assist other Maintenance Engineers in ensuring the provide their staff with sound practices to avoid any such failure in the future.

No employee should go to work and end at dead.

Bless

 

 

 

 

The Banking Services (Amendment) Act, 2016

I believe the intent of the act is good, given the fact that banks have sought to impose a heavy burden on the consumers for far too long.

Banks are the only business I know that you lend money to and are charged by the lendee ( bank) to access the money you lend them.

They are also the only business I know that sets the rates at which you lend them money, which they in turn lend to other business.

For the most part, the amendments seem fair, but there is one area that needs to be sorted out and that is schedule 132A  , Section 5  and Twelfth schedule part 3. minimum service package.

The sticking points appears to be the 120 free transactions per customer per year, but as far as I am concerned this is an easy fix.

There are some transaction that uses more resources than others and as such should be priced differently based on the size of the transaction.

The ability to or the consumers willingness to pay should be part of the consideration to arrive at a position so we can get to passing and  implementation of the act.

I am therefore suggesting a tiered fee structure.

Tier 1   Ave accounts  balances less than $100,000 per mth , 120 free transaction per year

Tier 2. Ave account balances $101,000 – $500,000 per mth, 80 free transactions per year

Tier 3. Ave account balances $501,000 – $1,000,000 per mth, 60 free transactions per year.

Tier 4 . Ave account balance > $1,000,000  36 free transactions per year.

This I believe will protect the most vulnerable with the least amount of resources and ability to pay, while allowing those with more resources and a willingness to pay progressively gets less free transaction.

As it relates to dormant account, I believe the act must not waiver on this part as banks should not be allowed to steal money from accounts considered to be dormant. I however have one issue  with the wording of this section Part 7 E, iii and iv. iii says there should be no transaction on the account and iv says the benefits attached to the accounts shall remain.

One benefit attached to an account is the right to earn interest, so if that should remain then there must be a transaction on the account to post that interest. I therefore believes that the wording should be examined further to make those two points do not seem  contradict each other.

The ease at which accounts can be opened and or moved between banks should be examined within the framework of local and international best practices . This is where I believe we can gain a lot . If I am not satisfied with any of the two big banks, I can move my money to another bank that charges me lower fees.

My two cents.

The Minister of National Security should review the bail act now!

Some months ago, the Minister of National Security was taken to task for suggesting that his ministry will be reviewing the bail act. Part of this review was to ensure that for some categories of murder, that alleged perpetrator  would not be allowed to take up bail.

The country erupted, with the Human Rights folks, the lawyers, the” ever on” air analyst and commentators as well as civil society suggesting its a terrible idea and would take away a person civil liberties.

The government apparently has backed off this proposal given the fact that I have heard nothing from then since then.

Fast forward to Jan 2017, we hear the very same people suggesting it was an egregious act for a JP who also happens to be the  Principal of a girls school to have signed the bail bond of an alleged rapist.

The very same smart, bright and well thinking people are today suggesting some other JP who apparently who would not be in good standing, should have  been asked by Ms Murray to sign the bail bond.

Do these people really understand what they are saying, well let me breakdown what I are the implications of this misguided view.

Those who are called upon to be JP, should have the following attributes

  1. Be in good standing
  2. Are honest and reputable and know by the community in which they operate

Those likely to be JP therefore are the following

  1. Lawyers
  2. Doctors
  3. School Principals
  4. Members of the clergy
  5. Policemen etc

To have a bail bond signed by a JP, the JP ought to know you and have known you for sometime, that is the basis on which they are allowed to sign.

So when I hear the suggestion be made that Ms Murray should have not signed the bail bond and instead should have asked someone else to do so, who may not even know the man, were they suggesting she be dishonest, given the basis on which a JP is supposed to sign.

Truth be told, they are not saying he should not be offered bail, but instead he should be denied bail by virtue of the fact that anyone one in good standing as a JP and  signs such a bail bond, would be supporting the alleged rapist.

Minister it is very clear to me therefore, that civil society is totally confused and have no idea what they want or what they should support. I therefore urge you to move swiftly to amend the bail act , which would make it impossible for some people to get bail.

Over to you Sir

Deal with the backlash, which won’t go beyond 9 days, but will surely will happen is a alleged murder would not be on the street on unleash terror on the rest of us.

 

 

 

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