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  • BREAKING: Fire at Bustamante Hospital for Children

    A fire at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew late Thursday evening reportedly forced the evacuation of the institution.

    The fire is said to have started at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the hospital.

     So far there has been no report of injuries.

    The Bustamante Children’s Hospital is the island’s sole facility of its kind, which caters exclusively to children’s healthcare.

    Coincidentally, only days ago, there was a signing-off on an arrangement to build a similar facility in western Jamaica.

    More details will follow on the fire and its impact on the hospital as they become available.

     

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  • Hampton principal sent on leave

    KINGSTON, Jamaica — Hampton School Principal Heather Murray is being sent on two weeks' leave as of January 16, for her actions outside the St Elizabeth Parish Court last week, when she attended the arraignment for Moravian Minister Rupert Clarke who has been charged with the rape and carnal abuse of a 15-year-old girl from the parish.

    Education minister Senator Ruel Reid made the announcement in a release a short while ago.

    The decision was taken at a meeting called by Senator Reid, with senior ministry officers, Murray, members of the Hampton School board, and the Munro and Dickerson Trust at the ministry's head office at National Heroes' Circle today.

    Reid said, given how Murray’s actions were interpreted and the controversy having affected her administrative responsibilities, the time off was necessary "for reflection and completion of her report to the board and the trustees".

    Stemming from the meeting, Murray also sent out a statement apologising for her behaviour. Reports are that she blocked television cameras, which were filming outside the courthouse.

    "She is expected to complete a formal report to the school board and the Munro and Dickerson Trust about her actions outside the court where she said she had gone to support a friend, who is the wife of man accused of sexual abuse, " the ministry release said.

    In the meantime the school board has been given until January 30, to submit a full report to the ministry on the actions of the principal.

    "Mrs Murray is also expected to avail herself of professional counselling services given what was described as her recent emotional stress. The principal will finalise her report to the board and the management will review and take action as necessary," the ministry said.

    The statement also said that during the meeting, members of the board and Murray had extensive discussions on how her actions were perceived and the concerns raised by the public.

     

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  • Hampton School Principal says sorry again, this time to the nation

    The Principal of Hampton School in St Elizabeth, Heather Murray, has issued a broad apology to the nation for her actions at the bail hearing of Moravian pastor Rupert Clarke last Wednesday.

    Clarke appeared before the St Elizabeth Parish Court on a charge of having sex with a minor.

    In her statement dated January 10, but released on Wednesday, Murray said she got caught up in the emotional trauma of the embarrassment and pain which the wife of the accused man, who is her lifelong friend, was experiencing as a result of the development, and in that circumstance, failed to realise that her presence at or near the courthouse could be interpreted as taking the side of her friend’s husband, with no regard for the alleged victim.

    She also apologised for having taken steps which amounted to interference with the work of the media in their bid to cover the bail hearing.

     

    Below is the full text of Mrs. Murray’s apology:

    “The past few days have been among the most difficult periods of my life.

    “I attended the in-camera arraignment of Rupert Clarke at the special request of Mrs Yvonne Clarke, my sister and friend, who relied on me for total support during a period of intense physical and emotional distress.

    “This state of personal turmoil rendered her incapable of being present at the Black River Courthouse while the Resident Magistrate was considering an application for bail.

    "On a personal level, I had become so immersed in the emotional trauma of the hurt and embarrassment which the wife of the accused was experiencing, that I failed to realise that my presence in the precincts of the Court could possibly be misconstrued as taking the side of her husband, rather than the (alleged) victim.

    “In my sisterly embrace and response of loyalty to her, I failed to take into account that my being there could expose my office or the institution I head to any hint of controversy or cloud of misunderstanding.

    “At the start of the new school term yesterday (Monday) morning, I apologised to my ladies (students), who greeted me with love and understanding. Now that I have also apologised to the Munro and Dickenson Trust, as well as the Hampton School Board, I hereby offer a fulsome apology to the education community and Jamaica for my presence and actions in Black River, which have been misinterpreted as support for the individual accused of rape and molestation of a 15-year-old girl.

    “The very thought that this might have been conveyed, grieves me deeply. It would contradict everything I have stood for over my lifetime as a teacher, principal, mother, wife and woman.

    “In this regard, my record of protecting all those under my care can withstand the most exacting scrutiny. There are countless teachers, pupils, parents and workers in the field who can all attest to my resolute and consistent stand against any form of sexual abuse or exploitation.

    “I also accept that it was imprudent and inappropriate for me to take any steps in the precincts of the courthouse, irrespective of the legal stipulations, which could interfere with the rights of the free press, or impede the work of media practitioners in the pursuit of (their) duty.

    “Finally, I pledge that I will continue to faithfully serve and protect the children under my care as I have always done throughout my 40 years of service to the education system of Jamaica.”

    Heather Murray (Mrs)

    January 10, 2017

     

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  • Tourists escape injuries after tour bus crashes in Hanover

    Thirty-eight tourists were spared physical harm when the coach in which they were travelling was involved in an accident with a motorcar near the entrance of the Grand Palladium Hotel in Hanover on Wednesday afternoon.

    However, the driver of the motorcar was not so lucky, as he was rushed off to hospital to be treated for injuries he sustained during the accident. His condition is not immediately known.

    Meanwhile, the impact of the collision left the driver of the tour bus shaken up.

    Reports are that shortly after 5pm the coach which was returning to Montego Bay, following a tour to Negril, slammed into the side of a Toyota Corolla motorcar which was said to be making a U-turn.

    The accident caused a massive pile up of traffic which extended for miles.

    The traffic is now cleared.

     

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  • St Catherine teacher charged for having sex with one of his students

    A teacher in St Catherine has been arrested and charged for allegedly having sex with one of his students.

    The teacher was taken into custody on Tuesday after an investigation by the Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA), in tandem with the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), over a period of time.
       
    Children's Advocate, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, has disclosed that the accused is a high school teacher.

    He is scheduled to face the St Catherine Parish Court next Tuesday.

    The probe that led to the teacher’s arrest was reportedly prompted by a report to the OCA on the matter.

    "We conducted the investigation by speaking to the child in the issue, collecting the relevant statements, dealing with the forensic examination, and also collecting supporting witness statements, and really did the investigation from start to finish, which resulted in the arrest," Gordon-Harrison told RJR News.

     

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