Lesmore Smith, CEO Top Priority Security
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Chief Executive Officer of Top Priority Security Services, Lesmore Smith has appealed to students of the Elmore Stoutt High School to comply with the security measures in place on the campus and he also made a special appeal against gangs.
Top Priority has been contracted to provide security services at ESHS where there have been numerous references to active gangs. However, Smith said he has envisioned that there will be no more gangs in the school because students would have done a self-examination and determined that they want to follow a positive lifestyle.
"I know we had some visitors from overseas who came and looked at the school. There were a number of different graffiti and all those stuff that say we have gangs. I am going to say this morning we had gangs. We no longer have gangs. Because the gangs that we had they have just looking in their own mirrors and they have eliminated themselves. We will no longer have gangs at the Elmore Stoutt High school. We have progressive people today for tomorrow," Smith stated.
He explained to students that while they might not agree with security officers, the measures being taken are for their safety. He made reference to incidents that occurred at schools in the United States and other incidents that have occurred locally.
Smith also encouraged the students to be respectful so that at the end of the school year, the media will only have positive things to write about the school.
In June last year, officers from the Virgin Islands Police Department depicted the rise of gangs that have penetrated schools and are challenging law enforcement agencies on public streets.
Executive trainer for Safe Neighborhoods and for the USVI Anti-Gang Committee, Lavelle Campbell brought educators face-to-face with the brutal reality that the fearsome 'Crips and Bloods' gangs are actively operating in the Virgin Islands.
Campbell along with other colleagues showed photos of graffiti on the school´s restroom facilities, fence and various points on the school´s compound.
The school has taken action to stem the influence of gangs and have installed cameras at various points on the compound.
Earlier this week, Minster for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn indicated that ESHS recorded a decrease in the number of fights taking place on the campus of the school; however, it is possible that there was under reporting of fights.
In response to questions in the House of Assembly this week, Hon. Walwyn said that the number of fights that were recorded on the campus during the 2009/2010 school year, based on the data collected via PowerSchool was 77. He said via the same mode of data collection, the number of fights that were recorded during the 2010/2011 and the 2011/2012 school years were 68 and 36, respectively.