The Keith Mitchell-led government is not forthcoming with information about the problems confronting students attending the St David’s Catholic Secondary School (SDCSS) at Petit Esperance.
Two government members – Minister for Implementation, Alexandra Otway-Noel and Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Senator Winston Garraway – met with reporters on Tuesday in the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing but avoided giving definite answers about the future of the over one hundred year old school.
The two year old ruling New National Party (NNP) administration has been asked to come up with a temporary solution to the problems encountered by students at the school and the response given is that a solution will be reached by the start of the new school year in September.
President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT), Lydon Lewis has said that concrete is falling frequently from the ceiling, the school is rat infested, and affected by leaking septic tanks.
Lewis has threatened to remove his teachers from the school as he deemed it unfit for them to work and expressed disappointment in the response coming from the Ministry of Education and the governing board involving the Roman Catholic Church in addressing the problems at the institution.
THE NEW TODAY newspaper understands that some classes had to be conducted on the outside of the building due to falling concrete from the ceiling.
When asked about the issue at the press conference, Sen. Garraway
told reporters that the Mitchell-led government has the best interest of the students in mind.
“The Government is very conscious as to the need and also recognising the dangers at this point in time, we will leave no stone unturned in finding the best solution to ensure that our children are protected and that is a commitment and we’re going to do this as quickly as possible”, he said.
“…With all that is being said out there, no decision has been taken at this point in time as to the final solution but what I can say to you, a number of ideas, positive ideas I must add (have) been bounced to us and at the end of the day .. the Catholic Board continues to dialogue with the Ministry, we will make sure that the best solution is found… I think we are pretty close to the best solution, so don’t be bothered with all the talk that is out there,” he added.
According to Sen. Garraway, the relevant bodies are continuing to hold discussions on the issue but no decision has been taken as yet.
Minister of Education, Anthony Boatswain told a recent sitting of the House of Representatives that students attending SDCSS will be moved over to the St Joseph’s RC School in Pomme Rose, St David.
When asked if there was any truth to what the senior government minister indicated to Parliament, the response from the government members at the Press Conference was very scanty.
Implementation Minister Otway-Noel would only give assurances that something will be done to effect repairs at the school.
She said: “We have a responsibility to students of that school. The school is in a state of disrepair and needs attention and that’s the priority; that no one gets hurt there and so we will make sure that whatever we need to do, we will do to make sure that students have an opportunity to continue their education”.
Up to press time on Wednesday, the students were still operating in the dilapidated school building.