Education Ministry: Murdered Laventille teenagers were 'exemplary' students

Friday, January 22, 2016 - 20:00

The Ministry of Education is describing the two teenaged students who were shot and killed in Laventille on Thursday, as "exemplary students". 

The Education Ministry issued a statement today seeking to set the record straight with regards to the conduct of the students.

The following is the statement from the Ministry of Education.

"Contrary to many reports and allegations circulating on social media sites, School Principal of the Success Laventille Secondary School has advised that both Mark Richards and De-Neil Smith who were pulled from a taxi and shot to death by gunmen shortly after the dismissal of school on Thursday January 21st, 2016 were regular students and were neither disruptive nor violent.

 The Principal says, “De-Neil Smith was a school prefect and served as captain of our under 19 cricket team. He was a respectable and punctual student, always willing to assist and very quiet. He had no incidences of school indiscipline and often volunteered to help in the front office. In fact, many of the students, teachers and auxiliary staff are devastated by this unprecedented killing of one of the role model students in the school. The cricket team and prefect body are severely traumatised by his death.” She also says, "Mark Richards was a quiet student who participated in football and was not known to be involved in any serious incidents of indiscipline at the school."

Officials from Student Support Services were deployed on Friday January 22nd, 2016 and will provide grief counselling to relatives of both Richards and Smith who attend the school, as well as students and teachers. Counselling has been organised for the form classes of the two boys and the cricket team as a first priority, and then the remaining classes. Visits are to be made to the homes of the two students by Social Workers from Student Support Services. School officials are also receiving support from the Inter Agency Task Force, representatives from the Pan American Development Foundation and the Local School Board at this very trying time.

The Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education who is currently in Jamaica attending a meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of The University of the West Indies is issuing a call for citizens to continue to pray for the families, students, teachers and residents of the area who are affected by the killing of the youngsters. He is also asking that as a nation we go a step further and pray for all those young persons that are being wantonly gunned down. He is assuring the national community that he will collaborate with the Minister of National Security when he returns to ensure that the state resources are being effectively employed for a full investigation into these brutal slayings.

The Minister together with officials of the Ministry will be visiting the school on Monday at 9:00 am."