By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd said Friday he welcomes Assistant Commissioner of Police Leamond Deleveaux’s special assignment to his ministry where there are a “wide spectrum” of security responsibilities.
The minister said he has not yet met with ACP Deleveaux, but he explained that the senior officer is to report to the Ministry of Education as a consultant, providing advice on security needs.
The role will supplement that of an existing head of security in education, Mr Lloyd said.
There are 172 schools along with about 70 buildings and teacher cottages in the ministry’s purview.
The Tribune reported earlier this month that ACP Deleveaux was the third senior police officer appointed to a government ministry following his forced vacation leave.
Commissioner Anthony Ferguson signed a letter saying the senior officer was to be deployed on a special assignment “to assist with the overall security concerns” of that ministry for an initial period of 12 months.
The appointment was to begin Thursday, February 13. At the time his lawyer Wayne Munroe said ACP Deleveaux was awaiting details about the ministry’s concerns.
ACP Kendal Strachan and ACP Clayton Fernander have been directed to head security teams at juvenile schools and the Ministry of Health respectively. The officers see their appointments as demotions. ACP Strachan has sued the government.
“When we do meet I will find out exactly what the terms of engagement will be,” Mr Lloyd told reporters Friday following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between his ministry and Cuban government officials.
“It is my understanding that the officer is to report to this ministry as a consultant which means he would provide advice as to security requirements of the ministry bearing in mind that the ministry has 172 schools across the archipelago in addition to 70 or so buildings. That includes this building, the Ministry of Education headquarters, as well as teacher cottages and other buildings.
“It’s a wide spectrum of responsibility from a security stand point. We obviously welcome the help especially with the experience that the officer provides, but I am advised that the day to day operation of the security operations in the Ministry of Education remains with Mr Christopher Smith who will be supplemented and supported now by the officer in question, Officer Deleveaux, and we look forward to the engagement (and) the conversation and we will finalise the terms of that engagement.”
Minister Lloyd said the ministry wants to beef up security as it has undertaken a large scale technology initiative at all schools in the country.
Officials also have to consider community issues and conflicts that have at times spilled over onto school campuses.
“Let me just say that all of our campuses are safe zones for school age children, administrators, teachers all of them. Our challenge is not those persons who come to school and are participants in the school’s operations. It’s those persons who come from outside and they usually come with some intentions of settling scores or something of this nature.
“This is why and I am happy that police have made it their business to provide patrols and other oversight mechanisms for many of our school campuses, especially those in areas that we consider to be vulnerable.
“But we continue to upgrade out campuses. We continue to train our teachers (and) our administrators in security procedures and protocols and we find that it is effective.”
He continued: “We cannot relent on those exercises because each day miscreants find ways to breach that and to still create sometimes havoc either on the campuses or outside of the campus.
“What we are also finding is that in some of these schools the issues are not necessarily on campus, but while students are going home on the street or some times into their neighbourhoods, so these are still concerns.
“It is not an education issue. It’s a communal issue, a societal issue and it has to be addressed on a societal basis.”
Regarding technology changes, Mr Lloyd said: “…As you know we started in 2018 with a technology initiative at $17m, which, of course, has expanded just because of the nature of any work that we do and part of that technology initiative is to equip our campuses with the required technological entrapments that are necessary for us at any point in time to manage effectively the security requirements of the campus.
“This would include lighting, censors and a host of other technological devices so that whomever is managing the campus, whoever is responsible for a district would have a capability that previous to now they don’t have.”