Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
When school reopens next Monday, students and teachers of Leonora Delville Primary School in the First District may have to return to the makeshift classrooms held under tents.
Speaking this week at an event, Hon. Myron Wawlyn, Minister of Education and Culture did not definitively state whether the ongoing works on the school will be completed in time for the start of this academic year.
"The work at the Leonora Delville Primary school is advancing and we are hopeful that the school will be ready for occupancy by the beginning of the school term," he said yesterday, while speaking at an event held at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC).
He said, "We suffered many setbacks with this project, particularly with the availability of essential materials to rebuild the school. At present, electrical works are being completed and the painting of the interior and exterior of the school should be on the way as we speak."
In July, Opposition Leader and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie said that the teachers and students are falling ill due to the conditions under the tent. He expressed frustration when he was told in the House of Assembly that the completion of the school’s renovation was shifted from June to September.
“…The Minister would appreciate that I get calls about this every week; numerous parents, teachers…The children are in a really bad position as you know,” Hon. Fahie said.
He continued, “But the timeframe in which they have been allowed to stay there, from your answers, it is clear that the Ministry of Finance did not provide monies so that the contract could have been done in December .”
Based on the answers provided by the Minister, Hon. Fahie said that contracts were signed with assurance from the Ministry of Finance that the funds would be made available, “so what I want to know is where are our priorities in the Ministry of Finance, because since then I have heard the Ministry of Finance issued funds way more than the $150,000 that were needed in December.”
Hon. Fahie has alleged that the contracts signed in December 2017 were fake. He has also recently made it clear that he will rise up against the government if the students have to return to the tents on Monday.
Setback For CGB Students
Also on Monday, Minister Walwyn stated that the students from Cane Garden Bay will continue to attend school at Leonora Delville School as they are still working through a number of things at the Ivan Dawson School.
"The most recent rains made it clear that there is need to take another look at the plans to ensure that the school does not continue to have these reoccurring flooding issues," he said.
The Education Minister noted that it was their desire to have the school completed and the volunteers working there had assured that it would be completed for the opening of school, "but with the recent flooding, I would rather have our students in an environment free from flooding and therefore we are working on getting this rectified as best we can."