Fire victims in Kingston central could miss first few weeks of school

RESIDENTS of Rum and Rosemary lanes in central Kingston who were left homeless due to back-to-back arson attacks last week are grateful for the level of clean-up activities that have taken place since but are worried about back-to-school for the children.

In the attacks, which occurred last Thursday, nearly 50 people were burnt out at both locations, including more than 13 children who had their school uniforms and supplies destroyed by fire.

During a visit to the area by the Jamaica Observer Thursday, some residents called for swift assistance to replace the items the children will need for the reopening of school on Monday.

“I really wanted to get back the school supplies for my three-year-old son,” one woman told the Observer.

Another mother, of 6 Rosemary Lane, lamented that everything was lost and parents who were affected by the fire need help to make the next move to secure back-to-school supplies.

“Some of us stay in one of the burnt out rooms currently. People from Ministry of Labour and Social Security came and gave us mattresses and we put them on the ground. What we want help with now is the school stuff. We have eight children who go to school. People are saying the children might not go to school for at least two weeks into the new school year,” said the woman.

“Only two of them go to basic school and one goes to primary school. Everybody else goes to high school. You have Kingston College, Jamaica College, Excelsior, and so on. All the things burn up, including bags, school shoes, and uniforms. Government representatives came and gave them some bags and some exercise books. They didn’t get any text books. They need the things on their book list, plus they need back uniforms as well,” she said.

The mother also appealed for help to build a wall to prevent possible intruders from gaining access to them at nights when they rest their heads.

“This was a targeted attack and we don’t want people to target us anymore. Right now, the place is too open,” she added as she lamented the condition that she and the others have been forced to live in due to arsonists.

“I don’t like this because I am not used to this kind of life. I am used to my nice bedroom with nice television on the wall and all those things. I have the option of staying with family elsewhere, but I don’t want to do that. I want to stay in my bed,” she said.