Compromise reached on QC agri plot

-board chairman

Construction workers erect a fence around the new boundary of the Queen’s College agriculture plot. (Photo by Orlando Charles)

A compromise has been reached on the planned construction that prompted a protest last week by Queen’s College students, according to Chairman of the school’s Board of Governors Conrad Plummer.

Holding placards, students used their lunch break last Thursday to stage a protest against the proposed construction of a canteen in an area on the school’s grounds presently used for Agricultural Science, including related School Based Assessments (SBAs).

Plummer told Stabroek News that a meeting was held with all stakeholders at the Ministry of Education, where it was decided that there “will be some adjustments which will have to be made on all sides.”

While the “building will be built in the area that has been assigned to it,” he said the “agriculture plot will be adjusted accordingly,” so that the students will have both the space necessary and access to the road.

“In the long term, the agri plot will be relocated to an area south of the playing field but the immediate concerns are those students writing CXC [both CSEC and CAPE). That has to be addressed immediately and it was. They will have access and space necessary,” Plummer said.

Plummer maintained that the protest was a results “of miscommunication and lack of communication” but added that after Friday’s meeting “everyone” has agreed to the solution.  Students were, however, not present at the meeting and will not be informed of the decisions until Monday’s general assembly.

He explained that while the stakeholders weren’t able to see a plan of the building showing how it would fit into the space of the compound, they “understand what we were talking about.”  He also noted that the school’s administration will release this plan at a later date.

When Stabroek News visited the school yesterday, workmen were erecting a fence around the new boundary of the agriculture plot. The southern fence, which had been removed on Tuesday, was rebuilt several feet north of the area it once occupied, while the western boundary had been extended for approximately the same distance.

The southern gate had been relocated to an area leading directly to the road and the area east of that entrance was being prepared for construction.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine said that he had not personally spoken with “anyone” but added that he thought that “the situation is under control and unlikely to escalate.”

He stressed that in future “we have to make sure that before we make any changes, we go through a thorough process of consultation with everyone. There was a breakdown in communication. There wasn’t sufficient consultation, not everyone was on board in relation to what needed to be done. When you attempt to put things in place, be sure that you do sufficient consultation right at the beginning so that when you implement anything, you have complete buy in and you can proceed. That what where a lot of the problem was.”