MP Foggo: ‘Fire Alarm System Was Inoperable’

March 31, 2016

[Updated] “The Devonshire community should be extremely concerned that in an inspection of the Elliot Primary school premises 6 weeks ago, it was identified that the fire alarm system was inoperable,” Shadow Minister of Education and Training Lovitta Foggo said.

Ms Foggo said, “In the 6 weeks since, there has been no progress in rectifying this situation, and we have students & teachers spending 8 hours daily in a facility that has no alarm in the case of a fire, putting our loved ones at risk.

Chart provided:

Elliot Primary BUE Report Service Bermuda March 31 2016

“Ministers Wayne Scott and Craig Cannonier are well aware of this issue due to their areas of responsibility of Education and Works & Engineering respectively, and we are sure that the Finance Minister Bob Richards must be aware as well as he holds the purse strings.

“How is it that OBA pledged $77M to Americas Cup and Minister Bob Richards is trying to give a private Canadian company a $1 Billion contract to build and operate a new airport but they can’t find $40,000 to keep our schools safe?

“Why the reluctance from OBA government in dealing with this extremely important and potentially dangerous scenario? Based on the fire code, schools should not be allowed to operate without functioning fire alarms.

“Once again, the people see an OBA government place a reduced emphasis on public education and the infrastructure that supports it, while lavishing money on unpopular projects like the airport.

“This is symptomatic of their increasing disconnect with the community they were elected to serve. We call on Premier Dunkley, Minister Richards, Minister Scott and Minister Cannonier, to for once, put their money where their mouths are, and rectify this situation immediately.”

Update 5.40pm: A Ministry of Education spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Education is aware of the fire alarm deficiencies at Elliot School and is actively working with local vendors to resolve the problems. It is the intention of the Ministry to carry out the repairs by the beginning of next week.”

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Category: Accidents and fires, All, News

Comments (25)

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  1. Tired of politricks says:

    Has the PLP even been bothered to ask what steps are being taken or did they instead just run their mouths to the press before actually seeking answers from those responsible as to what is being done?

    • hmmm says:

      If it was that urgent, I wouldn’t have run to the press to score some political points against a polician, when WE ALL KNOW the responsibility comes under the on-going duties of established and in place of Civil servants. What I would have done is contact the CS department responsible for this and find out when it was going to be addressed.

    • What About Bermudians says:

      Don’t shoot the messenger, get upset at the people who had kids in a school without a working fire alarm system. This happened 6 weeks ago. It has been raised by the PTA, but it seems the OBA only act when they get bad press.

      If this press release gets the fire alarms fixed the political system worked, and our kids will be safe.

      That is why we have the press to raise awareness an an opposition to make the Government Accountable.

      • Tired of politricks says:

        So you know for a fact that nothing has been done since the revelation?

        Sorry, but don’t buy it as it seems to me just about stupid local politricks.

        Read the SCORE report on the dismal state of our schools. Even the PLP admits that this is long standing issue spilling over from their reign. At least now it has been made public and their is an action plan being put together to resolve these issues.

      • born bermudian says:

        If it was notified to all parents or notified through a mass email by the PTA to the parents, I would not be one of the “negetful parents” who had their kids in this school. I am working and cannot make your PTA meetings. I hate that I have to come on Bernews to find more horrible news about this school.

      • Paid Blogger says:

        Again how about discussing this with the Govt dept who is responsible – it is so easy to say it is the OBA but in fact the CS who are responsible on a daily basis for this.

  2. serengeti says:

    If she thinks this is an important issue, why does she interlace the press release with blatant lies? Like saying “the OBA pledged $77m to Americas Cup” and “trying to give a private Canadian company a $1bn contract”? These are just pure blatant lies.

    If her concerns are valid why doesn’t she just state them. She comes across as a hysterical liar.

  3. Agree says:

    I’d be concerned as a Civil Servant if a politician didn’t first approach the Ministry of Education or Public Works to ask about the situation and whether they have already scheduled to conduct repairs. Going straight to the press is simply a political finger-pointing tactic.

    The report was only published 6 weeks ago. When was the last time a school caught on fire and it wasn’t arson?

    Additionally those complaining about potential school closures should also take note that many of our schools need vast repairs, hence the OBA’s decision to conduct a review and make difficult but necessary changes.

  4. Unnaceptable says:

    How can this happen? 6 Weeks in a school without a working alarm system? In other countries heads would roll!

    OBA get your act together!

    • hmmm says:

      Civil Service get you act together you mean.

      Did the OBA change the way Fire alarms were tested or fixed? NO.

  5. Frank says:


  6. Triangle Drifter says:

    Apparently MP Foggo expects the Minister responsible for the department responsible for building maintenance to personally go around & double check on all of the work that is supposed to be done.

    If she wants to drag somebody over the coals, start with the supervisor or director of the Government department. Trouble is, these people are more than likely PLP supporters & she would not want to make them look bad now would she?

  7. Mutual Respect says:

    Somebody didn’t do their job. Hopefully, this same somebody wasn’t out protesting instead of making sure our children were safe

  8. Joonya says:

    YAWN.. give it a rest Lovitta

  9. Islander says:

    Yup, Ms Foggo should be walking around her Constituency to see what HAS to be done there. The night of the school meeting at Clearwater Middle School, Ms. Foggo was walking around the room saying “I can’t understand it, why aren’t the people standing up”. Perhaps it is because a lot the people wanted to listen first and make comments after. Perhaps Ms Foggo can get Peggy Burns to write placards about Elliott’s situation.

  10. hmmm says:

    Lovitta FOGGY wants the individual who should have fixed this fired, is that what she is saying ? ….Please Civil Service stand up and identify the individual in the civil service, if it truly is their fault.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      There are a bunch of levels of management between the person holding the screwdriver & the OBA Minister. She would not dare attack any of them. Her turn to make a noise about something.

  11. So says:

    So really after six weeks you complain, why not after 2,3, or 4? Did you approach the school, did you approach the Ministry of Works or Education? Im betting no, because that would make too much sense right. Tired of these people who claim best interest of children but try to capitalize off of EVERY SINGLE situation. Do better.

  12. G Be ready!! says:

    What a sad Bermuda!!!!

  13. Jonathan K says:

    As a fire and security professional, who has been working on this Island for almost 6 years, and previously installing life safety systems on Schools, high rise apartments, and high risk facilities back in the UK – I feel I am more than qualified to add to this article.

    First of all, I see politicians are trying to ‘stir the pot’ to for their own political agenda, rather than working together as a Government for the people they represent. I would like to stress – this is not just an OBA issue! They are not solely responsible. This has developed from the predecessors of past Governments (from both political parties!) and a number of other key elements for fire protection acts to be adhered to. These are as follows:

    1. Bermuda Fire Service – do not have jurisdiction to enforce code compliance for buildings for life safety. This is due to change April 1st, and they have work cut out!

    2. Insurers – need to work with the fire service and building owners to ensure that the life safety systems are operational, inspected and tested as per code guidelines. All too often building owners, facility managers are not interested in rectifying systems, even if there if it is deemed a ‘life safety’ issue!

    3. Workmanship standards – some of the things I see really do baffle me sometimes on this Island. I have too many stories to tell, but if the above enforce issues, then poor workmanship standards should improve because they have to!

    4. Building owners/facility managers – need to accept their share of the blame for not providing a safe working environment. Again, if the fire service and insurers were enforcing issues then this would improve.

    Please stop trying to create trouble on this beautiful Island!

    I hope that this is a wake up call for the Island and the task at hand…

    Jonathan K

  14. Cut it out says:

    As someone who is working on the matter there was no neglect, only responsiveness. Please allow people to do their job instead of starting something over an issue that was already being addressed previously before it became public or political in hopes of making it a points game.

    • Raymond Ray says:

      Update 5.40pm: A Ministry of Education spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Education is aware of the fire alarm deficiencies at Elliot School and is actively working with local vendors to resolve the problems. It is the intention of the Ministry to carry out the repairs by the beginning of next week.” All the time the Opposition Party put, “the cart before the horse” (or is it the horse before the cart?) either Ms.Foggo you’ve done it once again… :-(

  15. For Real says:

    Has Ms. Foggo gone to every school and inspected it? She would find bathrooms that aren’t cleaned by janitors (lift the toilet seat and see, sinks that never get washed, walls covered with mildew,); classrooms that have cobwebs and dust in every corner because the janitors don’t sweep properly; Windows and Venetian blinds that aren’t cleaned; doors that don’t get wiped…etc. The principals turn a blind eye although it has been reported to them. Whoever is in charge of school janitors needs to be doing unannounced site visits! I’m tired of my children going to filth ridden public schools!

  16. Reality Check says:

    The blame lies with the civil servants. Let’s face facts – PLP and OBA are / were quietly being run by long serving civil servants. BTW, since when has the safety and education of our children been a priority for either party?