November 15, 2023 -Some 74 schools across Jamaica have been disrupted by bomb threats since November 9, according to Education Minister Fayval Williams.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Minister Williams said while all the bomb threats so far have turned out to be hoaxes, the schools have implemented safety protocols.
“All of our schools contacted the police upon receiving the email. They implemented their school safety protocols and evacuated the students and staff to a safe place,” Williams said.
“Our directive as of now to our schools is to continue to take these threats seriously every time,” she added.
The threats have prompted the Ministry of Education to formulate trauma response strategies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“It’s called response to trauma events and this will be used in our schools to provide support services to students, faculty, and staff who have experienced emotional distress as a result of the traumatic event,” Williams said.
FBI involved in bomb threat investigation
The bomb threats have not only disrupted operations at schools but also several major businesses on the island including a hospital, courthouse, and Kingston Wharves on Monday.
The Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang said the police have been monitoring the incidents carefully and are supported by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and other state agencies.
The security minister said that based on the nature of the threats, it appears they were “designed to disrupt and create a level of confusion in society.”
“However, they are being pursued aggressively and all the required resources in the security forces have been mobilized to identify and apprehend the perpetrators,” he said.
He said the ministry is also receiving support from international partners including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), “which have been active in support from day one,” Dr. Chang said.
The minister said that although police have been stretched in dealing with the numerous threats, they have still managed to respond effectively.
One man has so far been arrested in relation to the hoax.