(JAMAICA OBSERVER)THE security procedures at public schools will be reviewed, particularly the protocols for collecting students.
“I have asked the minister of education to immediately direct that the school safety and security policy be reviewed [especially] as it relates to the release of children at the closure of school, or if someone is coming to retrieve the child before school is out,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
He noted that at some schools, only pre-approved persons can retrieve a child, adding that a “stranger or a person who is coming for the first time can’t just come and receive a child”.
He added: “It is not the practice in all our schools. Some people believe it is too much of an imposition on them, but where we are now in our society where the general good-naturedness of our people cannot be taken for granted…we have to put these security measures in place.”
The prime minister was speaking during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, where Members of Parliament called on Jamaicans with information regarding the murder of Danielle Rowe to come forward.
The eight-year-old died in hospital on Saturday, three days after she was abducted from the entrance of Braeton Primary and Infant School in Portmore, where she attended.
During a visit to the institution on Monday, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams announced that closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed at the entrance of primary schools.
The prime minister said that the decision by the ministry “is a start”, noting that the Government is building out the network of CCTV cameras across the country.
“Massive investments are going to be made in that. In fact, the Government will move to make it such that all public entities must have closed-circuit cameras at the entrance and exit to their public service space, which will include schools,” Holness said.
He noted that private entities may be required to install CCTVs particularly if they have an area where they serve the public.
“So, if they have, for example, a large car park, a large lobby where people go in, this will help in terms of identifying people who are perpetrating crimes in public spaces or near public spaces,” he pointed out.
In the meantime, the prime minister has asked the commissioner of police to place all the investigative resources into the case involving the eight-year-old girl.
“I am asking the public to work with the police to bring the perpetrator to justice. The pressure of the society can bring the perpetrator to justice,” he said.
Minister Williams, meanwhile, said grief counsellors have been at the Braeton Primary and Infant School to provide support to teachers and students.
“I know that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will not leave any stone unturned until it brings the perpetrators to justice,” Williams said.
Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding said it was important that the Parliament speak “as one voice as leaders in the country to indicate a resolve to tackling these things in an effective way”.
“It is important that we send the signal that this is not a normalised situation, this is not a situation that will ever be treated as normal, as run of the mill or in any way other than one which is deserving of the firmest response…in condemning it,” Golding said.