Bahamas News

With schools set to re-open in September, Education Minister reviews work taking place at schools on Grand Bahama

#GrandBahama, August 17, 2018 – Bahamas – Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Jeffery Lloyd was in Grand Bahama on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 to view of the preparations taking place at some of the schools on the island, as the date draws near for schools across the country to reopen.

The Education Minister and his delegation, made up of the Permanent Secretary and other Ministry of Education officials, toured the Holmes’ Rock Junior High school, which is still in the process of being completed, Bartlett Hill Primary, the Eight Mile Rock High School, as well as Freeport Primary and Walter Parker Primary schools.

Minister Lloyd also took time out of the tour to meet with consultants and principals of the schools where repair works are still being carried out.  While he said he was happy to see that work was still being carried out on the schools in desperate need of repairs, the Minister said that he was not totally satisfied in the time frame for the completion of the work.

“The school in Holmes’ Rock is something which the residents have been anxiously awaiting, and the fact is this school is needed in this community so that we can properly house the students of this community,” said Minister Lloyd, upon completion of the tour of the proposed new school in Holmes’ Rock in West Grand Bahama.

The contractors estimate that the school should be completed by January of 2019.

“We’ve had an opportunity to speak to the project manager and we’re looking forward to speaking to the other contractor so that we can finalize a few items that we would like to be considered in terms of addition and possible upgrades.  But I don’t think that would be a challenge in terms of that presenting or causing a delay for the completion date in 2019.”

After leaving the Holmes’ Rock Junior High School, Minister Lloyd and his entourage drove to the Eight Mile Rock High School, which had its own share of problems even before the school year had ended in June.

Minister Lloyd noted that the concerns regarding the Eight Mile Rock High School should be something of the past, because, as far as he knew, the “all clear” was given, indicating that it was safe for students to occupy when the school year begins, and once all of the repairs were completed.  There was a problem with persistent mold at the Eight Mile Rock High School, but the Ministry of Education had made it a priority to extensively deal with that situation.

“Those concerns should be no more, because we have been given an all clear by the Department of Environmental Health and the Department of Public Health,” said Minister Lloyd.  “We have requested an extensive review of that environment to ascertain precisely what the challenges were, if any, and they have done that.

“They have provided us a report and the report indicates that there are no challenges at this point at that school and whatever challenges that had existed have been rectified.  So we have no reason to be concerned and we invite the school population, we invite the community not to have any concerns, because we have been given the all clear by both the Department of Environmental Health and the Department of Public Health.”

Although Bartlett Hill Primary was not on the official itinerary for the Minister and his delegation, Minister Lloyd requested a stop at the Primary School, which had been severely impacted by hurricanes in 2016.  While much work had been carried out on the school, there were still some repairs that needed to be made before school opens for the fall semester.  Minister Lloyd said it was an area of concern for his Ministry.

“This school is 20 years or so past its shelf life and so everyone is trying to make do with it and patching it as they go long,” said Minister Lloyd. “But we are in need of major school replacements throughout the country.

“This is a point that we have discussed with the Prime Minister.  There are a number of schools throughout the country that are in desperate need of replacement – not just upgrades, but simple replacement, because they have long past their shelf life.  And as the resources permit, we are going to address that problem.  Bartlett Hill is one of the schools on our agenda to be addressed.”

The Education Minister said that it has become an urgent requirement that the Government address the situation at Bartlett Hill, so that the lives of teachers and students are not put in jeopardy.

In fact, following the tours of the various schools on the island, Minister Lloyd met with contractors and principals of schools to discuss the on-going works at the school and to ascertain the expected time of completion of those works.

 

By: Andrew Coakley

Release: BIS

Header: Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Jeffery Lloyd (right) asks Principal of Eight Mile Rock, Chester Cooper about the work that has taken place thus far at the Eight Mile Rock High School, during the Minister’s tour of the school. At left is Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Iram Lewis.

First insert:Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Jeffery Lloyd gives members of the Grand Bahama media an update on his tour of schools on the island, Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

Second insert: Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Jeffery Lloyd (left) asks contractor, Ali Rolle about one of the class rooms at the Holmes’ Rock Junior High School, which is being constructed in West Grand Bahama. It was the first school which Minister Lloyd toured during his visit to Grand Bahama on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.

(BIS photos by Lisa Davis)

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