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UPDATE: Gov't to review management procedures at places of safety

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Government is to review the policies and procedures surrounding the management of childcare facilities, following an early-morning fire at the Walker's Place of Safety on Lyndhurst Road in Kingston today (January 16).

This was stated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, when he visited the site accompanied by his wife, Juliet; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green. He met with staff and the wards at a nearby church.

“When incidents like this happen, it triggers an administrative response to review what actually happened, whether or not the building was appropriate, whether or not we need to spend more resources, and to see whether or not there was negligence. Just to make sure, as I have said before, that the places of safety are actually safe places – and that's the duty of the Government and, especially, the minister – I have asked the minister to undertake that review,” Holness said.

Fire broke out at the privately run facility at around midnight, claiming the lives of two children.

The prime minister said he is deeply saddened by the incident, adding that he was “shocked and very distressed” when he received the call about the fire and the subsequent deaths.

Meanwhile, Holness commended Member of Parliament for the area and Leader of the Opposition, Dr Peter Phillips, for his suggestion to establish a fund to rebuild the facility.

“I will contribute to that Fund in the spirit of serving our children, and I encourage all Jamaicans to contribute. Let's rebuild in honour of the two lives that, unfortunately, were lost,” he said.

Walker's Place of Safety served as a transitional residence for children, generally up to 12 years old, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions.

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