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Foreign Affairs Minister in the Bahamas, Fred Mitchell. (Photo via CMC)

Bahamian students denied flight home

November 3, 2023

NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC –  Foreign Affairs Minister in the Bahamas, Fred Mitchell, has encouraged Bahamian students in Jamaica to remain in the country as leaving could be detrimental to their education.

He made the comment as as the students asked to be airlifted to The Bahamas after an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 rocked Jamaica  earlier this week.

“The better view is for them to remain in place,” he said.

“Follow the instructions of the authorities. Keep as safe as they can. If something catastrophic happens, we’ll intervene, but at the moment, it doesn’t appear to call for that. It’s a scary thing, but if you’re going to go to school in Jamaica, it’s an earthquake zone so it’s a part of the reality.”

Speaking with the Tribune newspaper on Thursday, the president of the Bahamian Students Association of the University of the West Indies Mona, Stephen Smith, said many students wanted to be airlifted home in the aftermath of the quake.

He confirmed that no one was seriously hurt and there were no reports of damage to people’s belongings, although  one student told him a sheetrock panel fell on his leg when he tried to evacuate, but he was not seriously injured.

“Everyone’s still on edge,” he said. “Just to lay down in the bedroom is still a fright because any kind of sudden movement, loud noise, or bump, you feel like the earthquake is about to happen.”

“There wasn’t any loss of life. There’s moreso emotional damage that occurred, but there wasn’t any severe building infrastructure damage, ” said Smith who added that  there had been over 50 aftershocks since the earthquake.

He also confirmed that Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis shared a voice note with him expressing concern.

He said Davis  spoke to Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who assured him everything was operational in the country and at the university.

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