PORT OF SPAIN –– “Deranged minds who are trying to disturb the population.” This was how Education Minister Anthony Garcia Sunday described those responsible for the latest voice-note warning of ISIS attacks against local schools which would result in the cancellation of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams on Wednesday.
The voice-note which is being circulated via WhatsApp, comes even as police continue to investigate the authenticity of a similar recording which began circulating several days ago warning of Isis attacks on shopping malls across the country.
According to the CXC website a total of six Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) exams are scheduled to be administered on June 1; while there are three Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams scheduled for the same day.
Contacted while in Tobago Sunday, Garcia confirmed he had received the voice-note.
Although he dismissed the threat, Garcia said it had been reported to the relevant security agencies for further investigation. Confident that the perpetrator would be apprehended by the police, Garcia advised the nation that, “There will be school as usual on Wednesday and in fact for the entire week, until the end of the term.”
He went on to reassure exam students that, “There will be no disruption to the CXC exams for both CSEC and CAPE students.”
Garcia urged all students and their parents to “ignore that message as it was somebody with a deranged mind who is trying to instill fear in the minds of our population. It is something we totally reject”.
Adding that he had already spoken with National Security Minister Edmund Dillon about the matter last week as they sought to adopt a proactive stance in light of the threats targeting shopping malls, Garcia said: “I am confident that all security measures are in place so that in the event there is any truth to these rumors, we will be prepared.”
Garcia said the nation’s schools were properly and adequately secured by guards employed with the National Maintenance Training and Security Company Limited (MTS), as well as personnel assigned to private security agencies hired by the ministry.
“You have absolutely nothing to fear or to believe that would cause any undue stress to the exams,” Garcia said.
Pressed to say how soon they intended to relocate the Ministry of Education from Hayes Street, St Clair to St Vincent Street, Port of Spain Garcia said they would begin the incremental move by as early as this week.