Basseterre, St. Kitts, (SKNIS): During a sitting of National Assembly on August 10, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Honourable Ian Liburd, said the Government of National Unity stands firm in its commitment to build a new Basseterre High School (BHS) and that it will remain responsible in all of its actions in this endeavour.
Minister Liburd referred to page 41 of Team Unity’s manifesto commitment of building a new BHS. He said there were recurring issues within the former school and that they made a promise to address them.
He reminded that the main issue being dealt with was the health and wellbeing of the staff and students. There were reports of fainting and skin rashes at the school amongst other things, he said.
The minister further stated that as a result of the number of cases of illness and “the suffering and the hardships of teachers and students at that institution” the school was closed and a shift system was put in place. However, this proved to be unsuccessful, said the minister, noting that students often left the school at in addition to other concerns from parents and teachers. This was not good for the safety of the children, said the minister.
The shift system ended in August 2015 and the government has in place now a structure at Taylors Range, next to the Beach Allen Primary School, that houses 95 percent of the students, while the new BHS is in the works.
A steering committee called the St. Kitts-Nevis Water Experts working group was established to look at the suitability of building the school on the chosen site, said Minister Liburd.
The committee is being chaired by the Director of Public Works, Cromwell Williams, who is also a civil engineer and hydrogeologist. Also, on the committee is engineer and environmentalist, Dr. Halla Sahely. Another civil engineer and former water services manager, Athill Rawlins who spent 20 years or more developing water in the country and others from Nevis were also brought on.
“The group advised the Cabinet of the location and the best location for this new Basseterre High School,” said Minister Liburd. The group noted the mitigating factors. For example, the proposed site at Ponds Estate is located downstream of the wellfield and ground water flows towards the ocean. As such, the risk of contamination is mitigated.”
The group also made recommendations to the Cabinet such as the monitoring and control of all waste water streams generated by the school including solid and liquid waste. They also recommended that standard operating protocols for receiving storage and disposal of all chemicals are properly designed in case of spills. The group further recommended that the appropriate technology for waste water collection and treatment at the site be used.
Minister Liburd noted that the overall issues of water resources development and protection in St. Kitts and Nevis were considered.