Thieves rob school bus that took almost 20 years to acquire


Thieves rob school bus that took almost 20 years to acquire

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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PRINCIPAL of Windward Road Primary School in Kingston Noel Pennant yesterday described as “a knife in a heart” last Thursday's theft of the school's bus from its compound after almost 20 years of getting money together for its purchase.

Pennant said the institution had held numerous fund-raising events to buy the Toyota Coaster bus, licensed 0074HG. In fact, the plan to acquire the school bus was born in 1998, since which a number of students who contributed would have graduated from the school.

“Every year in December we have a specific fund-raising venture and... the funds go towards that bus. It took years to put those funds together [which were kept in a special account],” said Pennant.

“When the time came we said, okay, it is time for us to purchase the bus; we got a concession and we bought our bus [in November 2016]. For it to be taken from us like that it is really just a hard case for us to be bearing,” Pennant told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The bus, which was bought new, was used to transport students and staff to events and competitions, etc, the principal explained.

According to Pennant, the school's watchman, who was on duty, reported that two men entered the compound before dawn. He said the watchman reported that when he went in search of them he did not find them. The search was extended to the eastern side of the school, in the vicinity of Norman Terrace.

“It is alleged that two men wearing masks threw stones at him and threatened to shoot him. He said he ran to the Rockfort Police Station and made an alarm. On his way back he, along with a police officer, who were on foot, saw the bus being driven out of the school. The padlock to the gate was beaten off; the lock to the grille where the bus was kept was pried off. Apparently, the bus was hot-wired,” said the school principal.

The intrusion on the school compound was also reported to the Elletson Road police station, the principal said.

Pennant told the Observer that the bus was subsequently spotted by the police on Spanish Town Road in the vicinity of Seaview Gardens.

The principal, who is hoping that the bus is not scrapped, is appealing to people who have seen the stolen bus to report it to the police.

“Our students are in distress, our parents are in distress, our teachers are in distress, our past students are distressed; just about everybody associated with the school is distressed because of the theft of that bus,” he said.

The purchase of the bus, said Pennant, had eased the financial burden associated with renting a vehicle.

— Racquel Porter

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