T&T school to reopen a week after gunmen exchange gunfire outside location

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Trinidad’s National Security Minister, Fitzgerald Hinds, Monday said the Rose Hill RC Primary School in the capital, will re-open on Wednesday, a week after a video began circulating on social media showing school children and their teacher hiding in a classroom amid the sound of nearby gunfire.

Following the incident, teachers and the students paused physical classes at the school, instead reverting to virtual classes, and the Education Ministry said the staff and students were also receiving counselling.

But while Hinds, who was accompanied by Acting Police Commissioner, McDonald Jacob, senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF), gave the assurance after visiting the school, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) said it was being kept in the dark regarding the resumption of classes.

Hinds told reporters that he is pleased with the plans outlined by the police to keep the school and the wider community safe.

“The police announced that they would take a certain course of action in order to prevent that from happening again and to quell it. The police gave me those assurances…and I went out there and was quite satisfied that they have taken the action that they indicated that they would and some other strategic intelligence led strikes on persons who might be the holders of the firearms that were used in that and other events in the community,” Hinds said.

Hinds said the police have also upgraded their presences in the area to the satisfaction of the residents of the area as well as the school.

“I am satisfied that is being done. I was also able to indicate to them this morning that based on my information the administrators of the school are quite happy with the actions of the police and classes are expected to resume on Wednesday,| Hinds told reporters.

Jacobs told reporters “we have not also introduced….quasi or semi static patrols meaning to say that the officers will be on mobile patrol, but are required …to be at certain locations and interact with the residents, visit the school and do what is required to show their presence”.

But TTUTA said neither the Ministry of National Security nor the Ministry of Education has kept it informed of the situation regarding the welfare of its members.

“TTUTA has not been kept in the loop…these are our members we are looking at here and we have not had any interaction with the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of National Security. I think they should have been dialogue between all the stakeholders. TTUTA is still open to dialogue,” said TTUTA president, Lum Kim.

Last week, Hinds said that “government’s position is that the business of the state, that is the business of the school must go on uninterrupted, must proceed unperturbed and undisturbed.

“That is why a large chunk of the nation’s budget went to the Ministry of National Security and that is to ensure that the business of the state, both public and private are able to role smoothly and undeterred by those who intend to challenge it.”

Trinidad and Tobago has so far recorded 516 murders this year amid fears that 2022 could be could be the country’s bloodiest in history.

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