Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn has warned that those found guilty of deliberately setting fire to schools or other public facilities will face the full brunt of the law.

His caution comes on the heels of four school fires in two years, with the most recent being at Christ Church Secondary, which occurred on Thursday, January 12, 2023.

The blaze affected 503 students, 39 teachers and nine ancillary staffers, while 397 students, 33 teachers and four ancillary employees were affected when the St George’s High School went up in flames on July 20, 2022.

“The Minister of Home Affairs strongly condemns those trying to wreak havoc and create future weakness and uncertainty within the school system and the nation. The Ministry is aware that school fires will create a negative ripple effect on the education system and calls on all agencies and citizens to be vigilant to ensure the protection and sustainability of the education sector,” the Ministry said in a statement today.

In June 2021, the North Ruimveldt school fire saw the displacement of 444 students, 40 teachers and five ancillary employees. Some 610 students, 38 teachers and 11 ancillary employees were affected by the September 2021 North West Secondary Fire.

Of the four school fires within the last two years, two were maliciously set by person/persons.

“Minister Benn wishes to remind the public that there are harsh penalties attached to arson attacks, and once identified; the perpetrator/s will face the full brunt of the law. The Ministry of Home Affairs urges teachers, parents, students and supporting staff of all schools to remain vigilant of their surroundings and report any suspicious activities to the relevant authorities,” the Ministry advised.


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