Work started on the dilapidated Golden Grove Secondary yesterday, after Education Minister Shaik Baksh and a team of officials visited the school and met parents and teachers.
Baksh said that $3.28 million was allocated to the school for “emergency correctional works”, but added that from his visit he realizes that even that might now not be enough. As such, the Education Ministry, he said, will allocate any additional monies needed to complete the correctional works.
“I have discussed with the contractor who has been awarded a contract for $3.28 million. That sum will be inadequate and therefore the Ministry of Education itself will support the emergency works, as I term it, which will have to be done here, so we will provide that from our own budget,” he said.
Region Four’s Superinten-dent of Works, Donald Ambedkar, and Ministry of Education Engineer and Special Projects Officer, Rabindra Kishore, were among Baksh’s team that inspected the school and met parents and teachers.
Baksh had issued a statement on Tuesday, in which he expressed deep concern about what he said was the negligence of the Region Four administration in carrying out critical renovation works at the school, which has been at the centre of an uproar over its poor condition.
The engineers told this newspaper that they were currently working on estimates given the fact that they were given a list of priority works to be done at the school. “We are now working out what the central ministry will give to us. This is minus existing works [that started today]. We are identifying the works and putting a price to it…,” Kishore said as he sat with Ambedkar, preparing estimates and calculations in one of the classrooms of the school.
After meeting parents yesterday, Baksh said that initially he had decided to send a team to the school. Subse-quently, he decided it would be best if he were present as the inspection was being done.
He added that he was pleased that he visited.
Works listed as priority and critical include total rehabilitation of the sanitation block, electrical fixtures, the gate of the school, the leaky roof and cupboards in the home economics department.
Baksh promised that in two weeks there will be evidence that substantial corrective works were either completed or were in progress.
“The sanitation block must be done that is a priority,” the minister said. “Electrical works, windows will be repaired, the gates and leaking roof must be repaired to a certain standard. The Ministry of Education will fund the science lab so it is in working order.”
The minster also chided the regional officials stating that it was due to their “laxity” that the school was in that deplorable state.
The minster said he had heard of the meeting of the regional administration and parents via the media since no one directly informed him either of the state of the school or the outcome of the meeting with parents. However, regional officials denied the minister’s statement, saying that after the meeting with parents documents were prepared and sent to the minister.
The current repair works will be carried out daily from 2.30 pm when school dismisses and at the weekends as not to interrupt classes.