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