The buildings housing the Girls’ High School (GHS) and the St Vincent Grammar School (SVGS), temporarily located at Arnos Vale were evacuated on Wednesday because of a bomb scare.
A source said that at about 2.30 p.m. GHS Headmistress Michelle Beache and teacher Lenski Adams received messages asking if there had been an explosion at the all girl’s institution which has been temporarily relocated to the tarmac of the decommissioned ET Joshua Airport.
Some parents also heard the rumor of an explosion and called to inquire, so the decision was taken by management to evacuate the school.
Because of the close proximity of the two schools, a call was made to the SVGS by GHS management, and students were moved to the parking lot of the Joshua Centre. From there they were sent home for the day.
The scare resulted in more than 1200 students and teachers having to be removed from the premises but a search by the authorities found no exploding device.
Over the years, several schools, government institutions and private entities in Kingstown have been the victims of bomb scares.
Among them, telecommunications company FLOW in November 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture in July 2012, the National Commercial Bank (now the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines) in June 2007, and First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) in January 2007.
Also in August 2006, the Peace Memorial Hall was disrupted by a bomb scare during a lecture held in memory of late police officer, Elson “Raca” Richardson who was murdered on November 14, 2004. Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves who was also present at the lecture, was rushed from the building by his security detail.
This country has had a long history of bomb scares, none of which has ever resulted in an explosion.
However, on Friday May 4, 2007, then Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Colin Williams decided not to present any more evidence in a matter in which the first ever person had been charged for a bomb scare and had been taken before the court.
Akeem Sutherland, a 17 year-old boy of Edinboro, had been charged with making a telephone call to the Bishop’s College Kingstown (BCK) on September 28, 2006, stating that there was a bomb in the building.
Williams told SEARCHLIGHT back then that the matter was discontinued due to insufficient clarity in the evidence given to the court. The DPP further noted that there were strong concerns whether the right person had been brought before the court to answer to the charge.