Categorized | Featured, National News

School Repairs Cost $9 Million

PHOTO-2019-07-30-15-36-45_3 Top Photo

Cabinet ministers yesterday toured four of nine schools that are undergoing extensive renovations, which according to Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd, come at a cost of approximately $9 million.

The money for the work, he added, is available.

“The resources are now being distributed as necessary and what we mean by resources is money of course, the quality, experience and competencies of the contractors and their own resources, which of course means people,” Minister Lloyd said.

“They have quality people.  They have sufficient persons on these sites to get the work done.” 

According to the minister, the government is prepared in the event there’s a need for additional funding.

Further, a contingency plan is in place if the works are not completed by the opening of new academic year. Still, the minister said he was assured this will not be the case.

“There’s no such thing as if it should finish in time. The contractors have assured us, the engineers have assured us and the project managers have assured us that these projects will be completed in time,” Minister Lloyd said.

“Obviously, as a system we have contingencies in case something arise, maybe a hurricane passes that delays us for a couple of days.

“Naturally, the ministry and the government have contingencies in those events, but we are fully anticipating that the schools will be ready.

“These contractors, because of their experience, because of their capabilities and competencies know that there might be some delays. 

“That is why they have factored in those considerations and they can give us those assurances.”       

Independent consultant engineers evaluated the school campuses. According to Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, it was determined that some schools needed immediate attention.

“It is not a practical thing to keep a full team at every school. It doesn’t make economic sense for the country and for you as tax payers,” Bannister said.   

“So what we do is the Ministry of Public Works has a team of air-conditioning specialists. We have a team of plumbers.  We have a team of carpenters. We have full teams and where there are challenges in the schools, we have the teams come out to the schools and they work in the schools.” 

Optimism aside, Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson doubts school repairs will be completed on time.

“I would have spoken to the minister of education today, along the lines at looking at alternate sites for our students and our teachers when school reopens,” she said.  

The BUT president, however, stressed that she’s grateful of the efforts made to get the schools repaired. 

Mrs. Wilson also called for the Ministry of Works to station a maintenance team at school locations.

“There needs to be maintenance teams that are working all year round.  I saw you all interview the minister of works,” she said. 

“They need to get the Ministry of Works to do their job year round, so when you have a leaver that is missing or you have a faucet that may be broken or there is a leak.

“These are minor repairs that can be done during the school year and it will not cause us, the taxpayers so much money, at the end of every year where everyone has a mad rush, scrambling around trying to repair schools three weeks before schools open.”     

The schools toured yesterday were CH Reeves, DW Davis, CI Gibson and LW Young.

The 2019/2020 school year begins September 2.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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