Statement on the Security Concerns at the Irishtown Primary School by Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley

February 16, 2023 in National

Good day fellow citizens and residents. It is with a heavy heart that I address the nation today. On Tuesday 14th February after the close of school, a shocking, senseless act of violence unfolded on the premises of the Irishtown Primary School. This horrific crime has resulted in the death of one of our security officers. I am appalled at the callous disregard for human life and condemn ALL acts of violence. Our schools are Safe Zones where members of the school community should feel safe. Therefore, the Ministry of Education views this violent act as a direct attack on the education fraternity and the wider school community. I am certain that the effects from this heinous crime will reverberate throughout the school and surrounding neighbourhood and as such we pledge to do everything within our power to re-establish that sense of safety and security at the Irishtown Primary School.

Every member of staff is viewed as being critical to the daily operation of the school and this officer was no different. The education sector has lost a stalwart who will be remembered as a punctual, kind-hearted helpful officer. My heart and prayers go out to the family. Words are inadequate to quell the grief you may feel, however, I pray that the good Lord strengthens and upholds you during this very difficult time. The Ministry of Education mourns with you and we pledge our continued support.

Parents and Guardians, kindly take note that we have closed Irishtown Primary School for face-to-face instruction from today, Wednesday 15 to Friday 17 February to allow our staff and students to receive compassionate care. Furthermore, school updates will be given on Friday 17 February, via ZIZ and other media houses.

Citizens and residents, it is imperative that the family, students and staff are given the opportunity to grieve with little to no intrusion and I ask that you respect their privacy. Today, in my capacity as Acting Prime Minister, I am urging all of you to give your support to and cooperation to the police as they work diligently to solve these crimes. The Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, who is currently on duty overseas wishes to convey his sincerest condolences to the family, staff and students of the Irishtown Primary School.

In closing, citizens and residents we have a collective responsibility to be agents of peace so that our federation remains a ‘country where peace abounds’.

Have a good day and may God continue to bless and comfort us all.

Thank you.