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Vandalism at St Andrew’s RC Primary School

Jude Bartholomew - President of the Grenada Union of teachers

President of the Grenada Union of teachers (GUT) Jude Bartholomew has complained that the St Andrew’s RC Primary School has been left in ruins due to constant acts of vandalism and break-ins at the learning institution.

Bartholomew took to Social Media Tuesday to warn the Dickon Mitchell-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government that the union and those running the school are prepared to take protest action to get the situation addressed as a matter of urgency.

He called on the Minister of National Security who is Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, and the Minister of Education to address the matter promptly.

“Many of the times we cannot get these matters addressed expeditiously with the Ministry of Education or in other domains and so we come live to get the attention,” he said in the Voice Recording.

The school which was located in the town of St. Andrew had to be moved a few years ago to Progress Park due to its dilapidated state.

Bartholomew said that although the government donated fans for the excruciating heat at the school, the security of the building was left untouched, and due to this, persons are finding it easy to break into and vandalise the school from time to time.

He pointed out that the culprits have taken away food that was supposed to be for the school feeding program and expensive items like laptops that the Ministry of Education purchased for the teachers and students among other things.

He pleaded with the community of St Andrew’s, especially residents living around Progress Park to be vigilant and look out for the school since a lot of their children attend it.

He stressed that GUT and the Principal have been calling on the Ministry of Education and the Government of Grenada including the previous administration to do what has to be done to alleviate the situation and things have now gotten worse.

According to Bartholomew, if this matter is not addressed quickly then the GUT will have “to step up momentum” which seems to be a hint at possible protest action.

“This is about the fourth time … within three weeks that the school has been broken open, stealing the school property, entering the principal office, vandalising the resources of the school,” Bartholomew said of this week’s assault on the school.

The GUT boss called for the involvement of police and for there to be extra security to get the situation under control since in the last two weeks since school has reopened, the principal, teachers, and students are distressed.

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Bartholomew stressed that the breaking open of a school is a criminal offense and should not be taken lightly.

“We need more than one security together with a surveillance system for the school otherwise you are losing all the resources there. It doesn’t make sense for the Ministry of Education … sending food for the school feeding program then persons are taking it and destroying the school in the process,” he remarked.

He mentioned that over the years since the school has been in Progress Park, the teachers, students, and the principal have been complaining almost every month that people have been ransacking the school.

He said the Minister of Education Senator David Andrew did visit the school and promised security but nothing was done.

Bartholomew stated that it is important as a union to make sure that the teachers and principals are working in a safe and secure environment so they can deliver and do their job.

He disclosed that he got a call from the principal of St. Andrew’s RC Primary School almost in tears this week and she informed him that the staff members were disheartened to discover that somebody had again vandalised and created havoc in the school.

Due to this, he said the Principal and teachers along with the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) have decided to engage in a form of protest until the issue is resolved by the authorities.

He added that the teachers are frustrated and took the decision to refrain from engaging in classroom activities on Tuesday.

“That is to tell you how severe this issue is so we are calling on the Ministry of Education to take this matter seriously – not only for St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary school but all the schools in Grenada that do not have security,” he said.

Bartholomew expressed the view that the school is no longer a proper learning environment for the students and challenged the government to intervene as parents will want their children to be safe when they send them to school.

“Think about the security of the school. How can students and teachers go in that environment there being comfortable for learning to take place?”

The GUT leader indicated that if the Ministry of Education and other persons in authority are not taking the situation seriously and do what they have to do, then the union would step in and take some more protest action to get their attention into addressing the issue.

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