Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 19, 2022 (SKNIS): Acting Minister of Education, Attorney General Hon. Vincent Byron, met with education officials to address the immediate concerns of the continuation of education for students of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School after a fire ravaged the main building on Friday, March 18, 2022.
Attending the meeting at the library room of the school in Molineux on Saturday, March 19 were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, William Vincent Hodge; Acting Chief Education Officer, Francil Morris; Principal of Joshua Obadiah Williams School, Suzette Cannonier; Dale Phipps, President of the St. Kitts Teachers Union and Principal of the Edgar T. Morris Primary School in Tabernacle and Director-General of St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service, Lesroy Williams.
The main agenda was to discuss temporary housing and psychosocial support for the 106 students along with teachers in the aftermath of the tragic destruction of the majority of the school. Officials from the Ministry of Education informed that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Osmond Petty and Inspector Isles-Joseph, agreed that classes can temporarily continue at the Explorers Youth Clubs Headquarters in Phillips Village.
Students and staff will report at the Explorers Youth Clubs Headquarters on Monday, March 21, 2022, for orientation and psychosocial support, while instruction will resume later in the week. A Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meeting was scheduled for Sunday, March 20, 2022, at the Explorers Youth Clubs Headquarters at 5:00 pm and the Ministry will engage staff by Microsoft Teams prior to the PTA meeting.
“The (JOW)Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School has been one of our best-kept schools. The building has always been very well maintained and clean, the lawns always manicured and well kept, so it is for us a very painful experience. We want to express our support for the principal Ms. Cannonier and her staff. Ms. Cannonier has been overwhelmed with this experience, likewise, her teachers and I’m certain a number of parents and children as well. The immediate task of the Ministry of Education is to ensure teaching and learning continue and so that will continue in the weeks ahead,” said Permanent Secretary Hodge.
The Acting Minister of Education said that the plan is to bring back the educational facility to life as soon as possible with the engagement of the Public Works Department.
Director of the Forensic Department of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, Latoya Lake-Marshall and her staff updated the Acting Minister of Education and education officials at the meeting on the ongoing investigation into the school fire.
Minister Byron and the education officials also visited the Explorers Youth Clubs Headquarters and were warmly welcomed and given a tour by Inspector Isles-Joseph.