Head of teachers’ union wants answers on Grazettes saga

As education officials put systems in place to hold classes at the Grazettes Primary School at an alternative location next Monday, the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is still waiting for some answers.

President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY there are still questions about what chemicals were used in the fogging exercise that caused the lingering odour that has disrupted school since the beginning of the term.

Following a 90-minute meeting with Grazettes Primary teachers and ancillary workers at the Ministry of Education this afternoon, Deputy Chief Education Officer Karen Best said the students and staff would be temporarily relocated.

She did not disclose the locations, however.

“We have identified two places and we are awaiting word . . . Based on the information which has been given to us by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour we should be able to use the school within the next three weeks,” Shepherd told the media.

“We have already carried out the industrial cleaning but there are still some pockets in the school where the odour has been trapped. We are putting all systems in place to have the school relocated on Monday, October 6. The Ministry of Education should get confirmation for the accommodation by tomorrow morning.”

Best acknowledged that the persistent odour from fogging done at the Grazettes, St Michael school before the start of the new school year had made teachers uncomfortable and some even had to take sick leave.

She said a meeting for parents of the Grazettes Primary School students would be held tomorrow at 5 pm to discuss the issue.

The BUT president commended the ministry for its preparations for the new term, saying it had “done everything within its power to have the school ready” and it was only the fogging that had caused the disruption.

But he has called on officials at the Ministry of Health to come clean on what exactly has caused the problem.

“I am told that the fogging staff of the Ministry of Health used about four or five chemicals mixed together, but they are only identifying one chemical – malathion. All they are saying is that they used malathion, which is an insecticide . . . Today, nobody wants to say what other chemical other than malathion was used in the fogging,” he told Barbados TODAY.

“I would like the Ministry of Health to say to the people who are affected what chemicals were used. It cannot be only malathion because farmers use the chemical everyday and some householders use it around their houses,” Shepherd argued.

The BUT head disclosed that the odour was concentrated in the principal’s office as well as the nursery and reception rooms.

“My opinion is that the chemicals used seeped into the furniture,” Shepherd said.

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5 Responses to COME CLEAN

  1. Angela Thompson Branch
    Angela Thompson Branch October 2, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Malathion they were spraying bush that is suppose to be odorless really need to come clean.

  2. Tony Webster October 2, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Malathion? Wholesale neighborhood fogging and everyone breathing it in? Someone is either either mad, or arrived from Mars yesterday; or needs a different job: check this out from the national institiutes of health, USA, courtesy Google:-
    Why not tell us what the other four ingredients were also? They might have been even “better” than malathion! And you know bajans…doan mix according to the instructions…better to make it a lil’ “stronger”…just to be sure to kill the li’l devils.

  3. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall October 2, 2014 at 7:43 am

    The school had a long summer vacation that the work could be done earlier as always the government lay back system.

  4. Margaret Bascombe
    Margaret Bascombe October 2, 2014 at 8:51 am


  5. Tony Waterman October 2, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I have already asked persons in Barbados who are really interested to find out for me if MALATHION is one of the chemicals used in foggin in Barbados, Now i have my Answer directly from The Ministry of Health. and i am INCENSED that a Health MInister in a GOVERNMENT Department, and his CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, is UNAWARE that although Malathion itself is of low toxicity’ absorption or ingestion into the human body readily results in its metabolism to malaoxon, which is substantially more toxic, and malaoxon has been shown to be 61 times more toxic than malathion. Acute exposure to extremely high levels of malathion will cause body-wide symptoms whose intensity will be dependent on the severity of exposure. Possible symptoms include skin and eye irritation, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, seizures and even death. Most symptoms tend to resolve within several weeks. Malathion present in untreated water is converted to malaoxon during the chlorination phase of water treatment, so malathion should not be used in waters that may be used as a source for drinking water, or any upstream waters.
    What i am saying here is that MALATHION is a very DANGEROUS Substance when NOT PROPERLY,
    “”IF”” as i have been told it is mixed with Diesel fuel as it;s carrier agent, i will assume that the Ministery has done some tests to see what happens when that mixture is concocted (it’s Conversion to malaoxon during the chlorination phase of water treatment)
    do we in Barbados know enough about this Product (MALATHION) to be still SUBJECTING our CITIZENS to INHALING it by FOGGING with it?????????


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