Three of the island’s cabinet ministers on July 18, 2020 toured some of the schools on island currently under repairs in the largest re-build and reconstruction projects of schools here. Described as ahead of schedule even though the coronavirus pandemic has slowed progress in other segments of society, Ministers Michael Pintard, Kwasi Thompson and Iram Lewis all expressed pleasure with what they had seen.
On the tour, which started at Hugh Campbell Primary School, were Min. of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Hon. Michael Pintard; Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson; and Minister. of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Iram Lewis. They were accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Harcourt Brown; First Assistant Secretary, Clothilda Whymns; Project Manager, Burton Miller as well as Bahamas Union of Teachers Area Vice-President, Quintin Laroda and various contractors and support staff.
According to Min. Thompson, they are pleased with the work and that the roof work is complete — so some of the schools may be used as hurricane shelters if necessary. He added, “The government had allocated somewhere in the range of $4.5 million with respect to 15 schools and so we are thankful we have Burton Miller, a seasoned engineer, who has been monitoring and inspecting to ensure we get the quality for the amount of money being used. We expect to come within budget and be able to complete all the necessary repairs for the entire 15 schools.“We are pleased this is one of the largest restoration jobs that has ever been done in Grand Bahama for the schools at once.
We would normally put in place $1-2 million that would be able to deal with it, but this is the largest one time reconstruction and renovation of schools in Grand Bahama,so we are very pleased that the government, and particularly in these times when it is difficult for us to find funding, but we are very pleased that our schools are a high priority for the government.” Minister Lewis noted that with the roof repair, work was done to make the roofs stronger by using screws instead of nails when replacing the asphalt shingles. He said, “we are building back stronger” and ensuring all the necessary protocols are in place.
“We expect the work will be done in a timely manner and quality will not be compromised. We will ensure the Bahamas Building Code is fully abided by.” Minister Pintard said the tour gave him the opportunity to view where thehydroponic systems would be located, as many of the schools will be outfitted with them before the opening in September. With the majority of schools being located in his constituency, Marco City, the Minister thanked the principals and teachers for their dedication and commitment to the students during the pandemic as well as the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.