Categorized | National News

Bannister: Gov’t Skimping On Education

Former Education Minister Desmond Bannister said the monies allocated to that ministry in the proposed 2012/2013 Budget is “woefully inadequate” to bring about any real improvements in the education sector.

The Free National Movement (FNM) senator, who is also the Opposition’s shadow minister for Education, Science and Technology, was delivering his contribution to the debate in the upper chamber.

Senator Bannister said the capital budget will not stretch far enough to cover the many repairs, construction and other improvements that are needed nationwide.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has been allocated $49 million while the Department of Education will receive $201,770,380.

“The minister of education needs the money to build and repair these schools,” Senator Bannister said. “I ask the government to please give him the money, so that he does not add to the unenviable record in the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) of not building a single school in five years.”

Mr. Bannister said although the government’s Charter for Governance boasts about putting more teeth in education, the figures certainly do not show it.

“Even with all the talk, what did we get in this budget for education,” he asked. “For the Department of Education, the budget has increased less than three per cent, for BTVI (The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute) the budget has decreased by about three per cent, for the Ministry of Education, the budget has increased by approximately three per cent, and it seems to be the magic number.”

“For the College of The Bahamas, the budget has increased by approximately one per cent and the total dollar increase amounts to $9,195,674 over last year’s budget of $268,472,382. And $5 million of that is earmarked for salaries and allowances, so Bahamians have every right to be disappointed at this turn about.”

Mr. Bannister said the PLP has already failed on delivering its revised promise to of $22 million annual increase.

He added that it is time that the government gives the Bahamian people what they were promised for education and noted that the Free National Movement (FNM) built 12 schools in 10 years nationwide, and claimed that the PLP, in its last five years, built none.

He hailed Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham as “the most prolific school builder in the history of our country.”

“Simms Primary in Long Island, Central Abaco Primary, the Sir Gerald Cash Primary School, the Garvin Tynes primary School, the Maurice Moore Primary School, The Hugh Campbell Primary School, The Cleveland Eneas Primary School, the Sadie Curtis Primary School, the C V Bethel Senior High School, the Sir Jack Hayward Senior High School, Doris Johnson High School and St. George’s High School,” he said.

“During our Last term in office we had to complete the T G Glover School and the Anatol Rodgers School, each of which the PLP had run in excess of $5 million over budget.

“We corrected the monumental folly at the C H Reeves School; we did the Harry C Moore Library and many other things in education.”

Mr. Bannister said a much can be done with “that promise money” the PLP had earmarked for education.

He noted that the school in Inagua needs to be rebuilt, two schools are needed in San Salvador, and major repairs are needed at Government High School, D W Davis, S C McPherson, L W Young, the school in Lowe Sound, Andros, Harbour Island, Berry Island and Eight Mile Rock.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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