Guyana’s Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn saying the spike in the number of fires at schools is concerning as he urged the population to be vigilant.
“Primarily, it requires the communities, the parents, each and every one and the media to put out the message to protect the nation’s assets every time and particularly the future and education of children,” Benn said as he and Education Minister Priya Manickchand Thursday night toured the burnt out remains of the Christ Church Secondary School in Georgetown, the latest school to be destroyed by fire.
Benn said while the police are working on information regarding the fire, he hinted that the blaze may have been deliberately set.
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“It would appear passing strange and it would test probability that within two or three weeks, we can have a fire at the same building at a prominent location in Georgetown where hundreds of children are working on their SBAs (School-Based Assessments) and other things,” he said;
He urged everyone to stand in support of the education system and that the destruction of the Christ Church Secondary School was a “tremendous blow.”
Benn said the spike in the number of fires at schools “has to tell us something” with the authorities noting that a large section of the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School was destroyed in June, 2021, the St George’s Secondary School was ravaged by a blaze in July, 2022, and arsonists destroyed the Mabaruma Secondary School in September 2021.
The education minister said two recent fires have caused the Ministry of Education to be “stretched for space” and that while she was not pointing to the cause of the latest fire, Guyanese must be mindful about “wildcards making wild statements” because Guyanese of all persuasions and backgrounds are affected by fires at schools.
“When schools burn, children of all color, of all religions, whose parents vote all over for everybody; male, female, everybody suffers and so we have to collectively take a stand in this country that we will not let careless speech, we will not let careless persons interfere with our children’s future,” she added.
Manickchand said the government is trying extremely hard to make Guyanese compete in the area of education.
Meanwhile, the students of the Christ Church Secondary School are to be relocated on Monday, and the Ministry of Education said it is consulting the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) regarding options for students whose records have been destroyed.
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