Cut it out!
Jones bemoans vandalism of schools
Vandalism of school properties is burdening the Ministry of Education and the Government’s pockets.
Although he was unable to say exactly how much money vandals were causing the authorities to pay out, Minister of Education Ronald Jones said it was a major headache and contributed to the $1.5 to $1.8 million spent every term to repair schools.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY during a tour of several primary schools, he appealed to the culprits to cease their activities which waste taxpayers’ money.
“During the normal school term there were broken pipes, broken sinks, damaged toilet bowls, windows torn out [and] that is only from the primary schools. You will find that at schools like Alleyne, Lester Vaughan, Grantley Adams Memorial, there is constant replacement of windows and other parts,” he said.
“There has been the routine practice of vandalism to school plants in general . . . You can see where sometimes people throw things up into the ceiling and damage that, you can see where windows have been kicked in, see where doors have been kicked in. You have seen it all [and] money has to be spent in repairing this.
“The money could reach quite an appreciable level so we’ve always appealed to persons to respect the school. At the end of the day it is taxpayers’ money that is being spent rather than say it is the Government’s money. It is tax payers money that has to be taken and utilized at the school,” Jones added.
He noted that although the Education Act had been amended several years ago to deal with the problem created by either students or other persons encroaching on school premises, the situation still persists.
Urging people not to destroy the schools, the minister said: “It is where [children] spend a significant amount of time and we want the conditions to be the best that they can possibly be . . . What we have to keep doing is to constantly appeal to the good nature of people. I would love it to stop; I would also love people to stop throwing garbage on the streets of Barbados, but it continues. I understand the reality and we have to keep sending the message nevertheless.”
During the tour, Jones disclosed that about 14 schools got some sprucing up during the summer vacation at a cost of just under $800,000.
He praised the contractors and workers for completing almost all the projects on time to meet the start of the new school year on September 8. Work continues at only one school, St Mark’s Primary, where the project is 95 per cent complete.
The scope of work included repairs to roofs and ceilings, replacing floors, windows and ceilings, repair of windows and doors, construction of a covered walkway, electrical wiring and refurbishing of bathroom cubicles.
The schools involved in the programme were Bay Primary, Eden Lodge Primary, Good Shepherd Primary, Hillaby/Turners’s Hall Primary, Lawrence T, Gay Primary, Mount Tabor Primary, Sharon Primary, St Alban’s Primary, St Bernard’s Primary, St Giles’ Nursery, St Joseph Primary, St Mark’s Primary, St Silas Primary and Vauxhall Primary.