NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd said the Ministry of Education is looking to assess the structural strength of all government school buildings.
He made the announcement during an interview with media before heading to Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, as he sought to address the public’s concerns regarding the structural soundness of the C.W. Sawyer Primary School on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway.
President of The Bahamas Public Services Union, Kimsley Ferguson, told Eyewitness News, after a tour of the school, that the building was not structurally sound.
Ferguson also revealed that an online, report dating back to 2015, documented C. W. Sawyer as one of the schools that needed to be condemned.
C.W. Sawyer was also closed for two days last week due to a reported mould infestation that education officials claim has since been rectified.
In response to the problems at C.W. Sawyer, Lloyd said, “We are looking at the structural circumstances of the entire school system, including C.W. Sawyer.”
“Our team along with the Ministry of Work’s team have been working to assess what the state of the physical structure is, as an update to the assessment that was done last year and during the summer time.
“So, there is a constant revision of that update but we have just done so in the last week and a half and the idea is to see where there may be issues that will arise from a critical standpoint that may need to be immediately addressed.”
He added that the Ministry of Finance has mandated the education ministry to provide a report outlining all costs to have the structure of the educational system revamped.
“We have been mandated by the ministry of finance to provide a report on the costing of what may be required between now and the end of the fiscal year, and that is in process at this time. We should have a response in terms of need by the end of today [Tuesday].”
Lloyd also addressed the concerns of C.W. Sawyer teachers who called in sick on Monday after the school underwent a deep cleaning over the weekend to address a reported mould issue.
“Some of the teachers at C. W. Sawyer called in sick,” Lloyd confirmed.
“I am not sure of the number [but] I’ve been advised about 11 of them [called in sick] as a result of the cleaning agents of the vendor we utilized yesterday and that apparently caused some of them to feel nauseous.
“We have dispatched the district superintendent to work in concert with the principal to determine precisely what the circumstances are and if any remedy is required, that those remedies be immediately applied.”