The University of the South Pacific and The Ministry of Defence and National Security signs MOU
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(left) Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice- Chancellor and President (VCP) of USP and Mr Manasa Lesuma, Permanent Secretary, The Ministry of Defence and National Security (MODNS) signing MOU.
The University of the South (USP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Ministry of Defence and National Security (MODNS) on 29 October, 2019 at the Ministry of Defence Conference Room, New Wing, Level 2, Government Buildings, Suva to enhance the cooperation and coordination in combatting illicit drugs in the country.
The MOU is intended to facilitate the most effective and efficient use of USP and the Government’s resources, intelligence and information when dealing with Narcotic matters. USP will collaborate with the Ministry in designing and developing an App in the area of Narcotics.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice Chancellor and President (VCP) thanked the Ministry for hosting the USP Delegation and Mr. Lesuma, Permanent Secretary, The Ministry of Defence and National Security for attendance at the signing ceremony and acknowledged the presence of Ministry officials and USP representatives.
He said that the partnership is an outcome of the technical group meeting held on the 21st August, 2019 at MODNS, where it was agreed that USP collaborate with the Ministry to provide innovative, sustainable ICT solutions adapted to the demographic and spatial nature of the Pacific region using its state-of-the-art ICT facilities.
“FSTE provides an internationally recognised platform in the pursuit of learning, teaching and research in the areas of science, technology and environment and offers young and mature students an environment to develop their intellect and skills,” he said.
He added that with the signing of this MOU, USP looks forward to working closely with MODNS, as a strong and reliable partner, on the implementation of the activities set out under this partnership.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr Lesuma said that the Ministry is glad that USP has come on board to assist in providing technical expertise.
He acknowledged Professor Ahluwalia for the partnership and added that the MOU will strengthen the relationship that has been built over the last few months.
USP shall collaborate with the MODNS in designing and developing an App in the area of Narcotics to include features such as:
1. Reporting of suspicious activities associated with hard drugs within their respective communities;
2. Analytic and reporting of Intel to nearby Police stations;
3. An Awareness portal for periodic alerts, news, information on drugs and its effects,
4. A Counselling portal for those who are or having second thoughts about drug use;
5. Portal for sharing of pictures and videos of the effects of drugs;
6. Automatic send of address of users who report suspicious activities in their community;
7. Emergency contacts of all agencies to be available
8. Portal to be used by the public to ask questions and discuss on drugs.
9. Conduct surveys with the community; and
10. Sending alerts to users on events that MODNS will be conducting relating to drugs.
In conclusion, Mr Lesuma thanked the University for its commitment and looked forward to working with the technical team at USP. It is anticipated that the App will be completed by February 2020.
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