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Sep 7, 2022

Minister of Education says Its Regrettable that St Mary’s Did Not Inform Parent Before

On Tuesday, we showed you how St Mary’s Hall and Primary School buildings are falling apart. The buildings have stood there for almost a hundred years and have undergone a series of rehabilitative work. But over the past months, they were deemed unsafe for occupancy. That has left parents of the roughly three hundred schoolchildren scampering to make Plan B arrangements to have their kids continue distance learning. Today, Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca weighed in on the matter. He said that it was regrettable that the Anglican management took so long to inform parents of the situation. The ministry, he said, will help to transport the children to other locations that the management has identified as classrooms in the time being.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

“The matter was first brought to my attention in June of this year when the principal of St Mary’s Anglican Primary School visited me and she brought it to my attention. Immediately, and when I say immediately I mean within twenty-four hours, I sent a team from the Ministry of Education – engineers, the Projects Unit, to assess the situation there at St Mary’s School, along with the Anglican management and the principal. Based on that assessment – this is back in June – we told the management and the school that the buildings were not suitable for education, suitable for the conduct of classes for this academic year. That was in June. I believe the management then took it upon themselves to get a second opinion – they wanted to – so they got their own engineering team to do another assessment of the building, which I think took another few weeks. That assessment came to the same conclusion that our team had arrived at, and then there was an ongoing discussion at that point between the management and the principal about perhaps what could be done to shore up the building. I don’t know – it’s regrettable that it took so long for them to engage with the parents and the community. That in my view is unacceptable. It should have been done much earlier. Having said that, I know they have engaged with the parents. I know that over the past few days they have been engaged with the Ministry of Education. The Chief Education Officer has been in dialogue with the Anglican management. They have really scrambled to try to find alternative, suitable, safe facilities. I understand that they have done so. I think there is an intention to have a meeting tomorrow, Thursday, with all the parents of these students to inform them and advise them of this plan to have these facilities. It may be that the ministry will be required to provide transportation for these students because I understand the facilities are on the other side of the city. So we have to look at that and we certainly are going to do that if that is required. That is where it is at, in terms of Saint Mary’s. They have identified these facilities, they will have the meeting with the parents tomorrow and based on that meeting, if there is consensus about moving, then they will do so.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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