The government has acquired the services of Purcell Security Firm to enhance safety at schools in Antigua and Barbuda.
Last week the Director of Education Clare Browne addressed Cabinet and raised the issue of security of the school plants.
He said thieves are breaking into Government schools damaging windows, doors, and other infrastructure, and stealing furniture, computers, tablets, and any other valuables which they could find.
The thieves have rummaged through the desks of principals, scattering documents, papers, and books on the floor, and engaged in other activities that have hampered the schools’ productivity and caused all users a feeling of insecurity.
The Director was persuaded that if the thieves believe that they would be caught then they would be less likely to engage in anti-social/criminal behavior.
And so, the Cabinet agreed to have security cameras installed on the perimeter of the buildings and also within certain offices that are attractive to thieves.
“The Cabinet also accepted the proposal of building strong-rooms or large safes on the compound of each school where highly-valuable items could be stored each night,” the weekly note issued on Thursday morning stated.
Purcell was accompanied to the Cabinet meeting by his accountant and another official of his firm. He also pledged to do “everything he possibly can to ensure that the schools, when opening on Monday 5th September, will have human security available at all the Government schools across Antigua. He noted that his firm employs approximately 1,000 men and women and that he has a very large payroll to meet each week”.
The security firm owner also spoke of the inherent challenge that his firm experiences with so many employees and noted that the deployment of security staff is a capital-intensive venture.
“The Cabinet made a pledge to provide Special Security with sufficient resources to enable Mr. Purcell to dispatch security workers on Monday morning to all schools. In the meantime, the Ministry of Works continues to source the cameras and the security software required in order to make the 37 government schools less vulnerable to thieves and trespassers. Advice and support will also come from the Ministry of Information/Technology,” the Cabinet notes said.