The challenges of the times continue


Friday, March 16, 2018

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Who amongst us didn't feel as if they couldn't stand another occasion of bad news when news broke that a student attending the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) came near to being another victim of the evil which has been plaguing our nation?

Early this month an interview conducted by Cliff Hughes on Nationwide News Network recounted the abduction of the young woman. At the end of her day's studies she entered a taxi only to find herself ambushed by the driver and his accomplices. She was robbed of her phone and other valuables before being released.

When she entered the taxi there were others aboard including a young woman and a young man. They appeared to be students like herself. With great courage, she told her story on the radio programme with strength which few of us could have maintained. As the taxi went on it's way, she found herself being challenged. Tied up and blindfolded, the taxi swept past places she did not wish to go, recognising before long that her life could have been taken from her with the same ease as stealing her phone and her money. It was the driver who gave the word for her to be tied and bound. The instructions were carried out by both the male and female accomplices. Finally the journey came to an end. Her life was spared. How many others have been so fortunate?

I am positive that I was not the only person who was ready to “bawl out”. My stomach became absolutely unsettled at the thought that another life could have been lost. The young lady who made the news on what could have been a fateful day has been described as a well-balanced, focused student. It is hardly likely that she will forget what she has been through, but since the painful hours of the ambush has passed she is now back in her classroom and settled into her work. She's the kind of student all academic institutions want to have on their records.

UTech, like other centres of learning and all areas of our Jamaica, has been challenged by safety concerns. My question to a member of the college management was: How much can be done to ensure the protection of the large number of occupants of the campus?

Since the recent incident, he said: “The college administration has been having meetings with the Papine police to consider what can be done.” We must keep our students safe.

The area of Papine Square has grown to facilitate many services, transportation in particular. Taxis abound, along with goods and services. Members of the community around are also interested in what the future will produce.

The challenges for safety require care and attention. The UTech representative made it clear also that the institution recognises that there are increasing challenges to be faced. The institution, I was told, is fully committed to do what has to be done. Similar discussions have taken place at The University of the West Indies, Mona, across the road, where they too are facing challenges as it progresses like many places of learning.

More in the news

On Thursday, reports came from St Thomas of similar abductions being carried out in the parish. One woman was injured when she jumped from a moving car on realising the evil intentions of the driver whom she had taken to be an average taxi operator. The St Thomas police have issued an advisory for passengers to ensure that when commuting they must use properly registered vehicles, known as “red plates”. These are painful days! We must be careful and cautious in how we travel.


The Alexander Bustamante Museum is going to be reopened after being closed for far too long. Located at Tucker Avenue in mid-town St Andrew, not far from the National Stadium, the museum was the former home of the National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante. The museum contains memorabilia and information on the life and work of “The Chief”. The rededication, to be held later this month, comes with the recognition that 2018 is the 134th anniversary of his birth. It should make interesting visits for young students especially.


In an age of constant learning and enlightenment it is important that communication is not only respected but protected. Since its establishment, the Jamaica Observer has not ceased carrying out the task of seeing that there is constant learning in a world where knowledge is more than power. The newspaper is a voice of the people, a voice which ensures that the people of our nation are fed with information and truth.

The Observer has not been afraid to seek out events of the day, not only in our land but wherever there is information to be shared. The Observer places itself within reach and learning continues.

Best wishes to the management and staff of the Jamaiaca Observer. Thank you, as always, for knowledge and access to learning for the enlightening of our people.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or

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