Gangs trade bullets outside school

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 09:30

Stu­dents of Suc­cess Laven­tille have been left shak­en af­ter a shootout be­tween ri­val gangs which oc­curred a short dis­tance away from the school on Tues­day.

A hail of gun­fire was heard in Beetham Gar­dens at around 3.45 pm on that, but no in­juries were re­port­ed, po­lice said.

Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion An­tho­ny Gar­cia nonethe­less vis­it­ed the school on Wednes­day, amid safe­ty con­cerns.

“There was a ses­sion with the cadets so a num­ber of our stu­dents were still in school and that caused them to scat­ter be­cause they were con­cerned about their safe­ty. the gun­fire last­ed quite a long time, some peo­ple said it last­ed about five min­utes. The se­cu­ri­ty, MTS se­cu­ri­ty guard in his es­ti­ma­tion said it last­ed about 15 min­utes. 15 min­utes is a very long time,” said Gar­cia.

“We thought, there­fore, we should come to the school to­day to meet with the prin­ci­pal and her se­nior staff to see what can be done to en­sure the safe­ty of our stu­dents our teach­ers and all those who oc­cu­py these premis­es.”

Act­ing Prin­ci­pal of the school Stacey Leza­ma said she held a full as­sem­bly to ad­dress the shoot­ing yes­ter­day, but there was a marked­ly low­er turnout of pupils.

“Word trav­els fast now on so­cial me­dia so many of the stu­dents were not present as (much as) yes­ter­day,” she said. She ex­plained that the stu­dents in­volved in the cadet pro­gramme were shak­en by the in­ci­dent.

“It is def­i­nite­ly ex­ter­nal be­cause it is not the first time. The school con­tin­ues to caught in the cross­fire of the fac­tions in the com­mu­ni­ty and it had noth­ing to do with stu­dents as far as I can say,” said Leza­ma.

“There is a lev­el of anx­ious­ness and un­cer­tain­ty,” she said, adding that she told stu­dents that stu­dent sup­port ser­vices were avail­able to them if they need­ed to talk about the in­ci­dent.

Gar­cia ex­plained that he had arranged with the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice last year to have pa­trols around the school area. Those pa­trols are from 7 am to 9 am and 2 pm to 4 pm, Gar­cia said but he could not say if po­lice were present dur­ing the shoot­ing.

Those pa­trols be­gan af­ter a spate of shoot­ings near the school last year.

The Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter said he would ask the Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice to in­crease pa­trols around the school.

 - by Peter Christopher