Photo: The Honourable Vance Amory, premier of Nevis and minister responsible for security
Nevis Premier issues statement on Charlestown Secondary School fire
Charlestown, Nevis – The following is (the unedited) statement of the Honourable Vance Amory, premier of Nevis and minister responsible for security, dated Nov. 27, regarding the Nov. 25 fire at the Charlestown Secondary School (CSS):
My fellow citizens,
You would have been made aware, that some person or persons unknown, set fire to one of the classrooms at the Charlestown Secondary School on Saturday night sometime after 9 p.m.
We have to thank those good citizens who, observing that there was a fire, called the police and the Fire Services, both groups of whom responded very promptly and were able to avert a disaster by bringing the fire under control very swiftly.
It is in fact very sad and a very serious situation that anyone, no matter how depraved, would wish to destroy any part of a public building such as the Charlestown Secondary School, a physical institution of learning which has served so many and has been the premier secondary school in Nevis for more than half a century.
While representatives of the government and Permanent Secretary for Education Mr. Kevin Barrett and Permanent Secretary Mr. Wakely Daniel in the Premier’s Ministry were there observing and interacting with those police officers and fire officers, after the crowd had dispersed, we had a very brief meeting to discuss what could have gone wrong to cause someone to set fire to that classroom.
It appears that there have been a number of delinquent and I dare say unruly students, who need to be taken under very serious control.
I have, in my discussions with Permanent Secretary Mr. Daniel in the Premier’s Ministry, Permanent Secretary of Education Mr. Barrett and the Principal of the Charlestown Secondary School Mr. Juan Williams, discussed a number of strategies which will have to be implemented to ensure that we do not have a recurrence.
One such, is to increase and improve the lighting for security purposes. Secondly, install Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras for monitoring the activity on the premises. Thirdly, getting the security guards of the school who work there during the course of the day to more rigorously assist the principal, to ensure that the children are kept under strict control and that they would assist the principal whenever they are called upon.
In addition, we have decided that we will also have physical security officers during the evening. We have also discussed a number of other issues or strategies which I will not here divulge because they are to do with how do we deal with delinquent persons; persons who are loitering on the premises and persons who we believe are engaged in illegal activity?
You will no doubt see a change in the way the school is managed and I am really very disturbed that anyone, no matter how depraved, no matter how deranged, should want to do that.
My fellow citizens, I am, as I said, very concerned. It does appear as if we have developed a culture of anti-social behaviour, disregard for law and order and this cannot be good for our small country.
This act on Saturday night, is one which has to be condemned by everybody and I have instructed the police to undertake very strict investigations and to bring anyone who is culpable to justice as quickly as possible.
Thank you and may we continue to pray for our country because we are in perilous times.
Thank you and God bless you.