Saturday 24 October, 2020

Security to heighten after teacher shot by stray bullet in classroom

Security is to be ramped up at the South East Port of Spain Secondary School in the aftermath of a shooting incident which occurred on Wednesday. 

Speaking at a news conference at the Ministry of Education head office in Port of Spain on Friday, Deputy Commissioner of Police Anthony James slammed the "reckless, callous and careless" action of the perpetrators who fired weapons in the vicinity of the school, resulting in stray bullets entering a classroom. 

He called the incident unfortunate and said police will step up patrols in the area.

“It is really a sad day when persons take it upon themselves to fire weapons that were meant to kill and to destroy in an area which is so prone for innocent persons to become victims," James said.

“Before this weekend is completely over, a dedicated team of officers will be placed in that area to focus strictly on the security and safety of the school.” 

The DCP also noted that police will be joined by municipal police from the Port of Spain City Corporation who will aid in maintaining a high police presence in the area. 

He added that police received information about the shooting incident and are pursuing several leads.

"The investigation into that particular incident is ongoing. We are having some serious leads. We are getting some vital information and we anticipate that some sort of closure, in the not too distant future, should be brought to this incident."

James further stated that the ongoing gang activity in the area is to blame for the incident and he urged residents to aid police in their investigations by coming forward with information.

“There is a serious issue in that particular part of Port of Spain and we intend to put a dedicated patrol, not only in the street at that particular area of the school but also in the community. Clearly there is a need for some remedial intervention," he stated.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Anthony Garcia could not say when the school would be reopened.

The school has been closed since the incident occurred as parents say they are fearful of sending their children to school and teachers have not returned to the job since Wednesday.

Garcia said despite meeting with parents, teachers and other stakeholders yesterday, no consensus was reached.

He assured that the Ministry is doing all in its power to meet the demands of the parents and teachers and denied that teachers were demanding the school be relocated.

“The teachers did not indicate that they don’t want to return to that building. What they indicated to us was that they are concerned for their safety and that we must put measures in place to ensure that they are safe in that environment," he said. 

“We understand the position of the teachers, we understand their concerns, we understand their fears because what happened on Wednesday was not the first occasion when teachers and students had to take protective action."

Garcia and James also denied that there were any injuries as a result of the incident on Wednesday. They said news reports that a teacher had been grazed by a bullet were inaccurate as the Ministry has received no such report.


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