by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Ministry of Education was forced to repairs schools after acts of vandalism
- Vandalism and theft are directly affecting students
There are renewed calls for communities throughout Grenada to safeguard school infrastructure after the Ministry of Education was forced to repairs schools after acts of vandalism, through break-ins or deliberate acts.
“We had major break-ins in a number of our schools. We have had activities that indicate that people just want to be malicious and in some cases, frighteningly so. We had reports of fires being set in some schools,” said Education Minister Emmalin Pierre.
Minister Pierre admitted that these egregious acts of vandalism are also within her very own constituency. “At least 3 occasions, a fire was started in a classroom, [on] at least 3 occasions. On the last occasion, the government had to take action that costed the government significantly, but of course I am sure that you would agree with me that securing those facilities is extremely costly, but extremely important.”
Cases of vandalism have also been reported to occur around school property. The minister gave an example of how vandalism and theft are directly affecting students. “Not just vandalism as it relates to the buildings, but I am sure you will understand and empathise with a child that is part of 4H unit and spends an afternoon planting crops and watering them during the school term and at the end of the school term they cannot reap because people went there and did the damage or reaped the fruits,” she said. “…and you know it sad because many of those students look forward to eating what they have planted, and the schools look forward to that as a support to the school’s feeding programme,” she said.
Minister Pierre is appealing to the public that the government is not in a position to apply security for every school on the island. “The Government of Grenada cannot at this time afford to place a security system or a security officer in every single school. The government should not have to be in a position to do that, because we should be at a community level, the type of people who want to protect our institutions.”
The government has spent significant sums of money on school rehabilitation and construction and has so far conducted major repairs on 19 schools. A new system focused on ensuring that quality of infrastructural development and maintenance is being put in place. Over $5 m was spent on the construction of the Holy Cross School which was officially opened on 28 August. There are plans to construct three new preschools.