A school struggling with financial problems, which are compounded by restrictions aimed at slowing the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), is facing another setback.
Thieves perpetrated their ninth burglary at the institution – Eagle’s Preparatory, on Royal Avenue in Linstead, St. Catherine, on Thursday night, October 29.
Principal and founder of the institution, Annetta Gordon, said, although the burglars made off only with a printer this time round, they vandalized sections of the property – including a door. They also poured buckets of paint inside the building and on various documents.
The paint was to be used to help prepare the institution for reopening, considering that it has been closed since March this year as a push-back against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the major burglaries that have beset the 15-year-old institution, Gordon noted:
- On the first occasion, the thieves took $52,000, a computer and a television set.
- On the third occasion, they made off with $32,000 and a radio.
- On the eighth occasion – which is the worst, the burglars stole 37 sheets of zinc, nine pieces of lath, seven pieces of 2X4, eight doors, one relatively lage water tank, waste water pipes, two 6-burner gas stoves, a gas cylinder, large pots, new garbage bins, two computers, and a refridgerator.
Gordon told The Beacon that the school was still trying to recover from the eighth attack when the criminals struck again.
“It is affecting me so bad because it is giving me a big setback each time,” she lamented.
Gordon added that, when she became cognizant of the ninth burglary, she initially felt an urge to cease operation. “But I am going to fight on,” she assured.
Chairman of the school board, Devon Smith, who visited the institution after the latest burglary, said the repeated attacks have left him with a feeling of ‘distress and disappointment and anger’.
“It leaves me speechless as to why our fellow Jamaicans would attack our education system especially at a time like this when things are so difficult with our schools,” he said. “They would have taken a few items [on this occasion] – a printer. They destroyed the door; the grill section of the building is also torn open; some of the fancy blocks that we have to the back of the school have also been destroyed by these criminals.”
Smith, who noted that the Linstead Police are investigating the matter, appealed for corporate Jamaica and well-wishers to assist the school, which is now contemplating improved security.
“We are not going to give up as an organization,” Smith vowed. “The children are what come first and that is why we are in the business of education.”