When the new school term commenced yesterday, Manchester Secondary School teachers were left with no choice but to house students in laboratories after a Berbice contractor was unable to complete the necessary rehabilitation works over the holiday period.
Region Six Chairman David Armogan yesterday visited several schools in the district where works were expected to be completed. However, while most projects were finished, a few had minor painting left to be done, while the Manchester Secondary School was the only project that was far from completion.
Armogan expressed his disappointment at the contractor and also the regional engineers, whom he said had been telling him that the work was close to completion. “Most of the schools I visited, we are satisfied with the work that was done except the Manchester Secondary School,” Armogan said.
At the school, several buildings needed rehabilitation, while washroom facilities and tile fixtures were still to be installed, among other works. It was also observed that where works were completed, the contracting company failed to clean the area.
Armogan noted that the project was awarded to the contractor before the beginning of the July-August holiday, with the expectation that it would have been completed before the new school term started. “There is still a lot of work to be done here at Manchester, they have moved some students from the classroom area to the laboratory area until the other structures are completed,” he noted. “Some of the works he completed, the contractor was supposed to clean the place to make sure that it becomes habitable and reasonable when the school children turn out. Unfortunately, that has not happened in many cases and two cleaners got a whole school and all the construction that went on over the holiday, they are virtually killing themselves to clean the place,” he added.
Armogan noted that he saw children spraying perfume to mask the odor from an area that was not cleaned properly. “…Also, the ceiling, where the bats were, they were supposed to take out and clean and put back a structure that has not been done as yet,” he said.
He also said the new school bridge, which was constructed, appeared to be “another disaster.” “Because when you look at the structure, there is nothing underneath to support the structure,” he said, while noting that the regional engineer will have to return to inspect the bridge, and also that the contractor will have to work in the afternoons and on the weekends to actually complete the project in a timely manner.
According to the chairman, the matter of awarding other projects to the said contractor will have to be discussed at the level of the administration. However, he stressed that the contractor will have to be given a warning letter.
Stabroek News was told that the contractor had received a warning letter in the past after he was awarded a project to build a revetment in Baracara and residents and officials were unsatisfied with the works that were done there.
Meanwhile, Armogan yesterday visited schools on the East Bank of Berbice, Vryman’s Erven Secondary School and schools in the Fyrish, Corentyne area, among others. He also spoke highly of the Vryman’s Erven Secondary School, noting that he was quite surprised at the school’s present condition. He praised the head teacher for the work he has been doing so far.
One major issue raised at several schools was furniture. Many teachers said they would welcome all furniture given to the schools.