Former Education Minister, Senator Franka Alexis-Bernadine has expressed grave concern that schools in dire need of rehabilitation are not being given priority on government’s list.
“I watch closely the repair of schools in Grenada and last week there was an outcry about the schools that were in some dire conditions and so on…There is a grand splash of the re-opening of the Mt. Moritz Primary School and I want to say that I am very pleased to hear that Mt. Moritz is off that list, but we must spread the joy around,” Sen. Bernadine said in voicing her concern at a recent NDC press conference in St George’s.
Sen. Bernadine, who is a former teacher and the caretaker for the Town of St. George noted, that “Mt. Moritz was listed after Hurricane Ivan (and) that there are schools in this country that haven’t been touched for plenty (years) before that.”
She expressed concern that “another $6M is put to Mt. Moritz in the St. George’s North-west constituency (which has already) been repaired after Ivan (when) there are schools like St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School in La Fillette (St. Andrew, which had a ground breaking since) on the 30 November, 2012 and we are now in 2017 (and) we still have not been able to move the children into their classrooms so that they can have a better facility to learn.”
Mt. Moritz is in the constituency represented in Parliament by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The former Education Minister told reporters that another school that is in dire need of assistance is the Samaritan Presbyterian School.
“…We hear of chunks of it falling down on people,” Sen. Bernadine said, pointing out that the problem existed since the former NDC government of Tillman Thomas was in office.
“What we did was (to) prepare a priority list and worked systematically through that,” she recalled, adding that the St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary and the St Patrick’s Catholic schools were also prioritised on the list.
“But yet and for all, we hear (of) two sets of monies going to repair one particular school (in the St. George North-west constituency of Prime Minister Mitchell) and one wonders…”
According to Sen. Bernadine, while “we (the NDC) are glad for them (Mt. Moritz), you have others and it must be spread around in a way that all children and everybody get a little bit”.
“And so I have great concern about the fact that the St. Mary’s R.C., St. Anglican R.C., and the St. Patrick’s Catholic schools have not been given the priority rating that they should be given”, she remarked.
Sen. Bernadine stated that the provision of a suitable environment for children to learn must be done “fairly and professionally according to the need and the demand”.
During his 2017 billion dollar budget presentation, Prime Minister Mitchell announced that both the Mt. Moritz Anglican and the St. Mary’s R.C. schools are down to benefit from construction under the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) along with the Paraclete Government and St. Dominic’s Pre-primary.
Dr. Mitchell said several other schools are on the government list for refurbishment and upgrades in 2017 under Phase one of the Grenada Education Enhancement Project.
These include St. Joseph’s Convent in St. George’s, Grenada Seventh Day Adventist Comprehensive School, J W Fletcher Catholic Secondary, Presentation Brother’s College (PBC), St. Joseph Convent in St. Andrew.
Under phase two of the project, there are plans to rebuild two schools -St. David’s Secondary School and the Grenada Christian Academy.