Problems plaguing several public schools have gained the attention of the Democratic Labour Party, which charged the Mottley administration with not prioritising these and other bread-and-butter issues on the island.
DLP president Dr Ronnie Yearwood told journalists at a press conference at the party’s George Street headquarters on Thursday that the government was putting everyday issues affecting a wide cross-section of people on the back-burner.
“What are your priorities for Barbados?” asked the party leader. “We have a situation where Ann Hill, St John’s Primary, Luther Thorne, Lester Vaughan, St Stephen’s Primary, All Saints Primary, literally it seems like every day there is a new front page with a school that has environmental problems. Yet, the Minister of Education is silent, is absent, is missing.
“The government just took out a US$25 million (BDS$50 million) loan for Kensington Oval but there are several schools that have environmental problems, so where are the priorities? How do you fix all of these things?”
Yearwood praised parents for protesting the conditions at the affected schools and urged others to follow suit.
“I implore parents that if their children are at a school and you realise that these schools have environmental issues, pull the children out of the school. I am very proud of the parents of the St John’s Primary School and if it is happening at other schools, stop staying silent. We have to end this cloak of silence that is hovering in this country,” he urged.
Yearwood used the school infrastructure issue to attack the administration’s latest airlift deal with Cayman Airways.
He said taxpayers’ money was being used to prop up some of the arrangements, even though the government was making it seem as though the country was earning significant amounts of money from these partnerships.
The DLP leader suggested the funds be diverted instead to remediation work within the school system.
He told reporters: “You have Cayman Airways coming here to Barbados and this is some of the data that has been provided to me: We had three flights so far [with] 32 people, 24 people [and] 16 people. Do you know how many people the plane carries? 160. So who is paying the bill for the shortfalls from all of those seats? You. And if you are paying that bill, there is less money to fix Ann Hill, St John’s Primary, Luther Thorne [and] to fix Lester Vaughan.” (SZB)