How to be safe & secure on Jamaican roads.

“In ourselves our safety must be sought. By our own right hand it must be wrought” – William Wordsworth, 1770 to 1850.

NRS

What about car safety?

  • Ensure its roadworthy at all times.
  • Keep the gas tank full at all times.
  • Spare tyre and accessories in good working order.
  • Small fire extinguisher within reach.
  • Working flashlight.
  • Local road map.
  • Make sure the car is insured and has all statutory requirements
  • Keep a list of all emergency telephone numbers.

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On the move?

  • When getting in or out your vehicle, look around.
  • LOCK your door once you get in your vehicle.
  • Watch for motorcycles that stop next to your vehicle, particularly if there are two riders.
  • Always park with the front of the vehicle facing out.
  • Communicate travel plans and arrangements to close friends or associates.
  • Avoid routine. Learn different routes to and from places you regularly travel to or visit.
  • Keep car doors locked and windows closed except for essential ventilation. If travelling alone, ensure the passenger windows are up and all doors locked.
  • Do not offer a lift, or open doors or windows to anyone.
  • Do not get too close to the vehicle in front of you. When you stop in traffic give yourself enough space so you can move without having to wait for the vehicle in front of you to do so.

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  • Do not stop to provide assistance if you see an accident. Call the Police.
  • When at traffic lights, do not open purses or wallets in front of windscreen cleaners or newspaper sellers. Keep small change in the ashtray or dashboard.
  • Keep on busy main roads and thoroughfares, especially at night.
  • Put all bags, packages, briefcases etc., on the floor, preferably under the seat and out of sight.
  • If travelling to rural areas try to restrict travel to daylight hours.
  • If you are on the road late at night or early in the morning (before daylight) do the following at traffic lights:
    • If the lights are red, stop and proceed forward cautiously, keeping the car in a low gear and in readiness to move off if it becomes necessary. If there are no vehicles approaching, keep driving. If there is a Police car present, abide by regular rules of the road. Watch for persons hanging around or loitering.
  • Learn to avoid areas prone to trouble.
  • Stay out of depressed communities, and away from routs you don’t know, especially at night.
  • When parking your vehicle at restaurants, bars or clubs, park in sight of the security personnel or in car parks manned by security personnel. Ask for an escort to your vehicle when leaving.
  • When approaching your vehicle always have the door and ignition key in your hand. Remember to lock your car doors once you are inside.
  • At all night entertainment locations, whether restaurant, club, bar, etc., there are numerous entrepreneurs/hustlers who will offer to watch or wash your vehicle for you. If you do not require this service say so firmly and politely. If you are going to tip them do not display wallets, purses, etc.
  • If your vehicle is hit at night do not stop and get out of your vehicle.  Drive to the nearest Police Station and make a report. If it is possible identify the vehicle that ran into you, but not if you put yourself at risk.

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On the way home?

  • If on returning home there are any strangers at or near your gate, do not stop. Call the Police immediately.
  • Take notice of vehicles driving behind you. If the same vehicle has been with you for a while do not stop at your gate. It is better to drive around the block to ensure your safety.
  • Cellular phones should be carried at all times. Ensure batteries are fully charged. Do not leave cellular phones in parked vehicles.
  • DO NOT USE your cellular while driving. You easily lose 50% of your concentration and become a danger to other road users & pedestrians.
  • Always carry a small amount of cash that can be handed over if confronted by robbers. Do not overtly display valuable personal property such as jewellery, cameras, etc.
  • Avoid confrontation if at all possible.

battlements-1239278__180[1]Season Safety

Will you stay safe this Christmas?

A broke man’s guide to home security

Jamaica no problem?

A night’s work

 

Season Safety

CHRISTMAS CHEER

Just a few weeks to go (at the time of writing there are only 34 days) and Christmas is here again, and it’s the time of year when apart from the joys of GIVING, it’s also the time of TAKINGfor thieves.

So be careful when out & about, be careful when shopping, and be careful when visiting restaurants and bars.

When faced with problems on the streets, most people are too stunned to do anything. Few of us think about our personal safety while traveling from place to place, so do something now to counter any threat. Often it is a quick and aggressive, pre-planned response that’s life saving – even if our actions are not perfect.

Consider options in advance, so a surprise is less likely, allowing you to do something quickly & confidently, changing the outcome of an event.

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PRACTISE SECURE THINKING & PLANNING

  • Be aware that it’s possible.
  • Be alert to what’s happening around you.
  • Have a few simple plans in the back of your mind to meet different problems.
  • Once a threat is developing, act quickly & CONFIDENTLY.

IDENTITY THEFT

  • There is no point carrying around too much personal information that may leave you open to IDENTITY THEFT. Crooks would love to get their hands on your personal details to apply for credit in your name.
  • Clear your wallet and handbag of everything except essential items. Do you really need to be walking around with your passport as well as your National ID card, all your credit & debit cards, driving licence, bank statements, credit & debit card receipts etc.?

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ATM MACHINES

  •  Is the ATM in a secure area? Are the environs well lit?
  • Lock the door when you are using an ATM machine.
  • Ensure that no one can see you entering your password. Cover the keypad with a free hand.
  • Withdraw money during the day instead of late at night or in the dark early morning hours.

SHOPPING & ON THE ROAD

  • Keep bags closed and carry them securely. The best way is in front of you with the strap secured over your shoulder
  • Do not walk around talking on your cellular. If you have to make a call, be brief. Better yet, step into a shop and finish your call.
  • STOP driving around chatting away on your cellular oblivious to everything & everyone around you. Is the call really important enough for you to selfishly endanger yourself and others on the road?
  • Do not listen to personal stereos when walking on the road or in the plazas.
  • Do you think someone is following you? Go inside a shop.
  • Do not take short cuts through car parks/alleyways. Stay on the main, and amongst people.
  • If walking on your own and someone is bothering you, find safety in numbers/in an office/in a shop. Do not be shy about talking loudly. MAKE NOISE! And lots of it! People will hear and come to your assistance.

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  • Separate the money you carry – leave larger bills hidden. Always carry a small amount of cash that can be handed over if confronted by robbers.
  • Have the keys in your hand when you approach your car, with the pointed part protruding through your fingers. Do NOT stop at the door searching for the keys.
  • Manage bags in your hand – keep one hand free at all times.
  • Place bags and shopping in the trunk of the car, or on the floor behind you, well out of sight of passers by.
  • Lock car doors the minute you get inside.
  • Keep car windows up far enough so that no one can push their hands inside and unlock the door.
  • Walk in the middle of the sidewalk, away from the edge of the road and passing vehicles/motorbikes/bicycles. And stand back from the curb when crossing the street.

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  • Look out for motorbike riders, especially when there are 2 people.
  • If a car stops and someone inside calls you over, keep your distance and keep walking.
  • When you get home ensure you have the door keys IN YOUR HAND. It is foolish to be waiting at the door while searching for your keys. If they’re in your bag or pocket, then they’re no use to you whatsoever.
  • If you have a padlock on the grill, do you always place it in the same position so that you automatically know what way to be pushing the key into the padlock?
  • Have you done a lot of shopping? Rather than filling both hands with bags and struggling to find the front door keys, make a few trips instead. And as you get into your house lock the door.
  • Carry a personal attack alarm. Or a loud whistle.
  • Going to a restaurant or a bar? Park in the restaurant’s car park. Is there adequate security? Find out!! And ask for an escort to your car, as all good places provide security as part of their customer service.
  • Even if you’re in a hurry, look around before exiting a vehicle.
  • Keep to busy main roads especially at night.
  • Do not get too close to the vehicle in front of you. When you stop in traffic give yourself enough space so you can drive off without having to wait for the vehicle in front of you to move.
  • Do not stop to provide help if you see an accident. Call the Police.
  • When stopped at traffic lights, do not open purses or wallets in front of windscreen cleaners/vendors/newspaper sellers. Keep small change in the ashtray or dashboard.
  • At all nightspots, whether restaurant, club, bar, etc., there are those who will offer to watch your car. If you do not require this service say so firmly and politely. If you are going to tip them do not display wallets, purses, etc. ALWAYS KEEP SMALL CHANGE READILY AVAILABLE.
  • If there are any strangers/cars at or nearby your gate when you get home, do not stop to investigate. Call the Police. Take notice of vehicles driving behind you. If the same vehicle has been with you for a while do not stop at your gate. It is better to drive around the block to ensure your safety.
  • If you get a puncture late at night, rim your vehicle to a secure area (nearby hotel, gas station, Police Station, etc) rather than stop and attempt to change the tyre.

1

There is too much going on for us to take a nonchalant attitude to life.

ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. For overall security, including your own personal safety, pay close attention to everything around you. Being absorbed in a book, cellular call, personal music player, newspaper, or other distractions can give thieves significant opportunity to approach, study, and strike.

Look at the people and environment around you. Notice things out of the ordinary. A good sense of what is normal and what is unusual in your surroundings could be more important than any other type of security precaution you may take.

START THINKING CONSCIOUSLY about safety & security, about protecting yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbours, your work colleagues and your community.

GET INVOLVED, GET AWARE AND GET ACTIVE.

Tynemouth Beach

A night’s work

Bradburys Jamaica

1998

What a night, visiting the site, watching two armed guards play drafts in the cool of the early morning while a third stood in the shadows, shotgun in hand. It was two ‘o’ clock and not even the moon was shining through the dark clouds. The only light nearby flickered on and off under the eaves of a building. The guards sat in the cover of a wall, every now and then looking at the road leading to the gulf. The game was quiet, the night was quiet, we were quiet.

We heard metal black_clouds_darkscraping along the ground, everyone frozen where they stood or sat. A hundred yards away we saw a man open a section of the fence outside the warehouse where Red Stripe beer was stored.

We looked quietly from the dark shadows and down the gulf road – men walking with purpose in single file, slowly…

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Jamaica no problem?

Where is your love Jamaica?

On Monday November 14, 2016, the Observer published an article entitled ‘Law scorned – No record of annual reports from 23 State agencies”.

In a nutshell, what the Jamaican public was told was that only 21% of public bodies have been compliant in tabling their annual financial reports.

56 were one to two years behind; 36 were three to five years behind; 14 were six to eight years behind; 5 were over nine years late; and there were no records of 23 of the entities EVER submitting an audited report. The period in question has both of our political parties forming the Government of Jamaica.

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Those in breach of THE PUBLIC BODIES MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT represent 79% of the total.

Note that according to Part 2 of the Act [Corporate Governance and Accountability], it is the Minister who is responsible and accountable for, among other things, the following:

2. (1) Before the end of each financial year, the Minister shall cause to be prepared in such form as may be approved by him, estimates of revenue and expenditure for public bodies, with respect to the ensuing financial year, containing-

(a) summary of the corporate plan submitted by each public body, pursuant to section 7;

(b) information necessary for the compilation of the Fiscal Policy Paper, as it relates to that public body; and

(c) other data and information pertaining to those public bodies, as the Minister considers appropriate

2. (2) The Minister shall cause the estimates referred to in subsection (1) to be laid before the House of Representatives and the Senate for approval.

3. (1) The accounts of public bodies shall be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles promulgated from time to time by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica, or such other body as the Minister may specify by order.

3. (2) As soon as possible after the end of each financial year, but not more than four months thereafter, the board of a public body shall submit the annual report including audited financial statements of the public body to the responsible Minister, who shall cause the report and statements to be laid on the Table of the House of Representatives and of the Senate.

The article further states “where breaches are found, reports could be sent to the Attorney General’s Department for appropriate action to be taken”.

Are these public bodies [the 79% in breach of the Laws of Jamaica] funded by the taxpayers of Jamaica? If so, then each and every taxpayer, whether business or individual, needs to hold the responsible Ministers to account. Note that the Board of each public body is also responsible and accountable for submitting the annual report [inclusive AUDITED financial statements] to the Minister. The Boards have failed the Jamaican people.

Imagine this happening in a private entity – people would lose their jobs. No questions asked.

 

 

From the Observer article, I notice the PAAC includes both Government and Opposition members. What are our lawmakers going to do about this? When has appropriate action ever been taken? This has been going on for years, and some of those on the PAAC have been around for years.

Please remember we are number 69 in the Corruption Perception Index 2015, and with a score of 41% actually sit on the CORRUPT side of the graph. If action is not taken, then we will never move forward, prosperity will remain talk, as those who espouse transparency, ethics, honesty etc. are not willing to walk the talk. This leaves a perception that the law is only for certain people.

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What would happen if private companies and self-employed individuals decided to follow the example set by our leaders? Suppose every major corporation in Jamaica decided NOT to file their annual financial reports? Would not swift action be taken by the Government?

I say that public bodies have already set a precedent, one that any private entity/individual should be able to use in a court of law.

Because if the lawmakers of Jamaica are not to be held accountable for breaking the law, then why should anyone else be?

President Trump

I know many are upset at the US election results.

The fact remains that governments that neglect large swathes of their population do so at their own peril. No matter the world calling people ‘deplorables’ or other derogatory words.

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Jamaica itself has its own terminology for what some would call our ‘deplorables’, so let us not skirt around some of our own harsh and unpleasant realities.

street shotAnd this is a lesson, not only for the US, but many other nations, where huge sections of the people are left in limbo, forgotten and scorned by the mainstream. These are those whom globalisation has marginalised, through no fault of their own.

Thomas Jefferson [the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of America, was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, which motivated American colonists to break from Great Britain and form a new nation], said “Every generation needs a new revolution”…maybe, just maybe, with the right advisors, this is a new revolution for the US…a clarion call not to neglect those who most need assistance.

Whatever we may be feeling at this moment, time itself will show what this change means, both for the US and the world at large.

In the interim, we live with the hand we are dealt with.

“The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk”. Marcus Tullius Cicero