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Students shaken by schoolmate’s murder

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The mood was sombre at the Morvant Laventille Secondary School yesterday as students expressed shock and at the murder of their classmate Joshua Andrews, 15. Some appeared visibly shaken.

Andrews, a Form Two student, was killed along with PH taxi driver Devon Hernandez when gunmen riddled Hernandez’s gold Elantra car with bullets. One of the bullets hit the car’s gas tank and it burst into flames with Andrews and Hernandez trapped inside.

Two schoolboys who were in the back seat of the vehicle were also shot. One was shot in the face and the other had one of his fingers severed when he was shot in the hand.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia, accompanied by Minister in the Education Ministry Lovell Francis and other officials, visited the school yesterday and offered words of encouragement to students and teachers.

He later told reporters: “We know the teachers are operating under trying circumstances. This school has been closed for some time and we have been able to get the school up and running and to meet a situation like this . . . it is very traumatic.

“We know that this area is subject to criminal activity and as a government are doing everything to ensure our society is safe and we have to begin with our school system.”

Garcia said representatives from the T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) had also visited the school and offered support.

Permanent Secretary Lenore Baptiste-Simmons said: “We have already identified this area as being one of our priorities in terms of the projects that are being implemented by the Ministry of Education.

“We realise that special need had to be given to this community and Morvant Laventille is one of the school that when we saw things happening we would have actually come into the school. The school supervisors would have been here, the advisor to the minister and the ministry team would have been here working to ensure that the school reopened. The ministry has really taken a step in ensuring we support all our schools and teachers,” she said.

Nathalie Robinson-Arnold, senior school social worker for the Port-of-Spain and Environs Education District, said guidance officers and social workers were at the school yesterday to determine the psycho-social effect of Andrews’ murder had on students.

“We have officers who will be visiting the homes of the deceased young man as well as the children who were traumatised. We will do our assessment and look at further psycho-social assessments that they would require for them and their families,” she said.

Yesterday, schoolmates remembered Andrews as a “very friendly person” who was “always making jokes.”


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