Govt weak on school maintenance – Husbands

An overly sensitive workforce that “panic” at the sight of the slightest environmental issues is just one of the many challenges facing the island’s education system, says a leading Government official.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Harry Husbands, in calling for the development of a culture of health and safety here, Wednesday morning suggested that Barbadians tended to react with greater concern to issues at work that are similar to what they would face at home.

Addressing a seminar on the management of school maintenance at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa in Rockley, Christ Church, Husbands cited a visit Tuesday to an unnamed school where mould was discovered in the roof.

“Yesterday, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Ronald Jones and I visited a school and there was some mould way up in the roof and everybody became concerned. It was a little piece of mould and everybody was concerned, but mould is everywhere. Mould is at home. But once it appears at the workplace people begin to panic. That explains why we are building a culture of safety and health which begins not at work, but is an everyday occurrence,” he told the Inter-American Development Bank sponsored seminar.

A number of schools here have complained about environmental or structural problems over the past decade or so, including the Louis Lynch Secondary School which was closed in 2005 after students and staff complained repeatedly that environmental issues had been affecting their health; the Chalky Mount Primary School which was shut in 2015 because of structural issues, and Combermere School, where ongoing environmental issues have forced several closures.

However, there is also the issue of maintenance, according to Husbands, who admitted that Government was “particularly weak” in this area.

“I think that we are particularly weak in the area of maintenance of school plants and for a justifiable reason. There are not enough resources around to maintain standards,” he said, adding that there were school plants in which classes should no longer be conducted because of the poor state of the structure.

The Government spokesman also revealed an increase in respiratory problems in the education system, warning of an “urgent demand” for attention to be paid to the physical environment.

“We in the ministry are also faced with an increasingly sensitive user group. We are finding persons less physically tolerant of dust and respiratory threats in general. We have seen a general increase in the incidence of asthma and sinus related maladies. All of the foregoing present us with an urgent demand for consistent attention to the quality of our physical environment,” Husbands said.

8 Responses to Govt weak on school maintenance – Husbands

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall March 30, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Joker

    Reply
  2. BaJan boy March 30, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Harry Clown is your government only weak on School maintainance?? If that was we would be truly happy. Don’t know why wunnah don’t stop talk all together….

    Reply
  3. Frank White March 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Are they aware of the many health problems that can come about from inhaling mold? Mold can cause a series of health problems, skin, eye or throat irritation, wheezing and or coughing and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If there’s mold at a school or any of the government buildings, just have it professional removed as quickly as possible…

    Reply
  4. Carrington March 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    You sang a different tune when you were General Secretary of the Barbados Union of Teachers and your Minister was President.

    Reply
  5. jennifer March 30, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I know of a case of a ceiling falling in and barely missing a child in a top school.

    Reply
  6. Tony Waterman March 30, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    “Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Harry Husbands, in calling for the development of a culture of health and safety here, Wednesday morning suggested that Barbadians tended to react with greater concern to issues at work that are similar to what they would face at home.”
    YES!!!!Mr. Husbands, at home there may be 2-3 persons, at School there may be 1000 Students and Teachers, how do you even talk about the two scenarios in the same breath.”FOOL”

    Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Harry Husbands!!! “Yesterday, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Ronald Jones and I visited a school and there was some mould way up in the roof and everybody became concerned. It was a little piece of mould and everybody was concerned, but mould is everywhere. Mould is at home. But once it appears at the workplace people begin to panic. “FOOL, FOOL, Twice.

    Mr. Permanent Secretary!!!
    Health risks

    People using Buildings with mould and damp conditions are more likely to have:
    eye, nose and throat irritation
    coughing and mucous (phlegm) build-up
    wheezing and shortness of breath
    worsening of asthma symptoms
    other allergic reactions

    Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of mould than others. This may include children, seniors and people with medical conditions (like asthma and severe allergies). Since some people are more sensitive than others, there is no “safe” limit for mould.

    Some airborne moulds can cause severe lung infections in people with very weakened immune systems (like those with leukemia or AIDS, or transplant recipients).

    So Mr. Permanent Secretary Husbands, next time you want to minimise something that is so serious to the Health of People, PLEASE pick another Topic that you know something about.

    BTW Sir, i am also glad that although you handled this Horrendously, i am hoping that the Next School you visit to look for MOULD would be COMBERMER School, as i am Convinced that this is one of the MAIN problems with that Building, MOULD IN THAT ROOF, and whilst you are at it Please check if there is STILL Asbestos Roofing on that Building.

    Reply
    • jennifer March 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      @Tony – well said. Harisson college too.

      Reply
  7. greengiant March 30, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    So much for local constituency councils. This local structure is the catalyst for the way government should be maintaining it’s buildings. Rather than letting run into major disrepair, the councils in those p[articular catchments should be responsible for maintenance of these buildings, drainage, minor road maintenance, upkeep of the play parks and similar services. Then we will find that with community involvement, and particularly local people making a living directly from these services there will be greater feeling of ownership or responsibility.

    If I was a Prime Minister or other MP and had the luxury of the constituency councils the opposition would find it a herculean effort to win another election. Local involvement, employment, empowerment, ownership and responsibility means a flowing river of votes. Gearbox and Ozzie Moore would have figured that out.

    Reply

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