Two weeks after parents padlocked the gates of the partially burnt-out Parfait Harmonie Primary School and threatened to stage another protest, the Local Government Ministry has said that the repairs will start as soon as the ministry advertises for tenders.
On Monday, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Ganga Persaud announced that $14 million, an estimated sum, was set aside to effect repairs to the section of the school that was destroyed by fire in March. That amount is to restore the burnt-out section of the school and to make infrastructural improvements to make it an environment conducive to learning he explained, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release.
The minister also said that the Region Three Administration has written to the Guyana Fire Service seeking a copy of the fire report and would move to address, as soon as next weekend, the issue of the water now lodged beneath the school building, the result of efforts to save the structure. Persaud said the repairs are expected to start as soon as the Education Ministry advertises for tenders and the reconstruction will be done in a manner that would preclude classes being interrupted. The minister expressed appreciation for the patience exercised in the wake of the fire and urged all parties to continue to cooperate to ensure that the facilities at the school are restored to an acceptable level in order to minimise any adverse impact on the students’ education.
On Thursday, parents told Stabroek News that they are prepared to stage another protest if the insanitary conditions their children have been forced to endure are not rectified by month end. They complained that since fire of unknown origin had destroyed a section of the school on March 26, Chief Education Officer Olato Sam had told them that $14 million was set aside to effect repairs to the school but to date no work had been done.
On Monday September 16, they padlocked the gates of the school in protest, cancelling classes for the school’s 525 pupils. They said that the $60 million school had not been constructed with any emergency exits and that their children had suffered skin rashes and they were affected by a mosquito infestation.