by Donella Hosten
Reports circulating from the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) during the early hours of this morning stated that Tropical Storm Bret no longer poses a threat to the tri-island state.
NaDMA also informed the general public that all schools and workplaces are to be opened and operating as per usual. However, several schools, mostly private, have sent notifications to their teachers and students to remain at home.
Senator Winston Garraway, head of the National Emergency Advisory Council (NEAC), confirmed NaDMA’s decision to operate as normal today (Tuesday, 20 June 2017).
Some students arrived at their respective schools only to be turned away in the rain by teachers who informed them that there would be no school today.
Efforts were made by persons from the NOW Grenada team to contact the relevant authorities at NaDMA and the Ministry of Education. Chief Education Officer at the Ministry of Education, Elvis Morain, said he was unaware of students being sent back home, and would investigate.
Reputable sources have indicated to the NOW Grenada team that the Ministry of Education cannot supersede NaDMA nor NEAC decisions. However, to close school today (or any day), the schools’ principals are required to request permission from the Ministry of Education and give valid reasons for closure. Although NaDMA is the official authoritative voice for disaster preparedness, concerns are being raised by parents, students and teachers alike, based on the conditions of some areas and in certain schools, which still have no water, and some with no electricity.
Leaving home may be a challenge for those travelling from the northern side of the island, especially since that area experienced very heavy winds and rainfall during the wee hours of this morning.
The public is calling on authorities to consider their safety when making decisions, and also to make unanimous and clear decisions before addressing the nation.