By SIMON LEWIS
HUNTERS, GB – Minister for Education, Science and Technology, the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald said September 19 that the relocation of the Lewis Yard Primary School is an excellent example of the power of partnership between the government and the private sector.
While drawing attention to the contributions made by the Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO), the Grand Bahama Port Authority, and his Ministry, the Minister also saluted the Ministry for Grand Bahama, especially Dr Michael Darville, who displayed a keen interest in the project.
Lewis Yard Primary School has been relocated to the old St. Vincent De Paul School campus in Hunters.
Addressing a special assembly at the school, Minister Fitzgerald for more than 20 years, there have been reports of toxic fumes coming from the industrial sector that have allegedly affected the general health of the students and staff at the Lewis Yard Primary School.
As a result, he said that many hours of teaching and learning time was interrupted, adversely affecting student achievement.
“My government accepts the fact that education is a shared responsibility of parents, families, schools, communities and the government. Therefore, when the Government of The Bahamas decided to relocate the Lewis Yard Primary School from its previous location to the former St Vincent De Paul Catholic School, it was a joint undertaking.
“Hence the successful relocation of the Lewis Yard Primary School was the result of a partnership between the Catholic Diocese, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Bahamas Oil Refining Company, the Ministry for Grand Bahama and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,” Mr. Fitzgerald stated.
Stating the cost associated with the relocation was some $450,000, the Education Minister said that “it is an excellent example of the power of partnership between government and private sector.”
He told the general school population, senior management from the Grand Bahama Port Authority, BORCO and the Ministry for Grand Bahama that he was delighted to be at the school and to express sincere thanks and gratitude on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas to their partners for their most invaluable contributions to the project.
“The Government recognises that making an investment in education and in particular at the primary school level is one of the greatest investments any government can make for its people,” he stated.
He recalled a statement made by American activist for the rights of the child, Marian Wright Elderman, who said that “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and the world better than you found it.”
Continuing, the Education Minister said the Lewis Yard School project is yet another example of the Government’s commitment to doubling the investment in education and training and improving the lives of the Bahamian people.
He added that he was extremely pleased with the complete metamorphosis that has taken place at the old St. Vincent De Paul campus over the past four weeks, and that the contractor, McDonald Construction is to be commended for the wonderful transformation.
The Minister admitted that he had his doubts about the complex being ready in time for school, “but thanks to my Cabinet colleague Dr. Michael Darville, a qualified engineer, who was charged with the awesome task of overseeing school repairs in the Grand Bahama district, I was reassured that the work would be completed in time for the opening of school and it was.
He again expressed sincere appreciation to Catholic Archbishop Rt Rev Patrick Pinder, the Catholic School Board for the use of the buildings.
According to the Minister, a tremendous debt of gratitude is owed to the Grand Bahama Port Authority who generously gave $102,000 to assist with necessary repairs, and BORCO who donated $103,000 to furnish and equip what amounts to a 21st century school.
Also, he mentioned that BORCO only two weeks ago had presented every student in the school with back packs filled with school supplies.
He told school principal, Mr Michael Rolle, teachers, parents and students that the Ministry and its partners had given them the very best they that had to offer at this time, in a clean and healthy environment, and that they are expecting good results in examinations.
“This relocation is all about providing a safe and healthy environment for you to learn and achieve academic success because you are the future of The Bahamas and we believe in you,” Mr Fitzgerald said.