Member of Parliament for St Andrew George Payne has accused Minister of Education Ronald Jones of breaking a transportation promise to pupils from the district, resulting in them getting to school at midday.
Speaking during debate on the Appropriation Bill 2016 in the House of Assembly on Tuesday evening, Payne said that with the closure of the Chalky Mount Primary School last year, students there had suffered dislocation and Jones had promised to ensure that they would be shuttled to the A. DaCosta Edwards Primary School in Belleplaine.
Complaining that the closure of the school was done without “having the pulse of the people of the constituency”, Payne conceded that there might have been a need to close the institution, but said, “it would have been better to find alternative accommodation in Chalky Mount, or to have done repairs to the school, if only on a phased basis”.
Following the closure of the school, Jones had promised last June to provide a bus service to take the children to A. DaCosta Edwards Primary.
However, Payne said last evening the service had not yet materialized “so you have young students, five to 11-years-old, having to travel to Bridgetown because of the failure and the inefficiency of the shuttle system getting to school at midday,” he said.
The Opposition MP said children who will be shortly writing the Common Entrance Examination were among those affected.
Last June, the Chalky Mount Primary school was declared “structurally unsound” with Jones promising a dedicated bus service as of September 2015 for the 105 students.
“The walls, the columns, the floors are all compromised . . . You can see where the land has sunken to the north and that took time. We have seen the movement of land in stark detail at Chalky Mount. It is the safety of the students and the teachers that is our primary concern. We have to abandon the building as of now,” the minister said then. (GA)