Minister of Education Anthony Garcia must immediately cease, deliberately misleading the nation by wickedly disguising the truths and misrepresenting the facts for his political expediency.
Mr. Garcia’s vicious propensity for spreading untruths came to a head in Parliament recently when he was forced to apologise for an earlier knowingly misleading statement on the payment of arrears to 14 private special needs schools.
The Minister’s statements with respect to construction of Fanny Village Government Primary School represent another flagrant and blatant attempt at public mischief by the minister, which must be strongly denounced.
The facts are:
The contract for construction of Fanny Village Government Primary School was awarded in January 2009 by the PNM’s Manning administration to Ashana Civil Mechanical Contractors ltd., at a cost of $23.6 million. Over the two-year period of 2009 and 2010, a small proportion of the foundation work was done by the construction company during the Manning administration. in the first 2 years of the People’s Partnership administration, 2011 and 2012, the said company did not construct much beyond the foundation level. The contractor’s inability to further perform construction caused EFCL to terminate the contract. Subsequent evaluation and appraisal was done in 2013 and 2014 by competent firms of project management and designs viz; CEP Ltd., and Vikab Ltd., with Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) to determine suitability for further construction. It was determined that the original two-storey building should not be constructed, but, instead, there should be a single-storey building to accommodate all 240 students.
2. EFCL embarked on a tendering process in late 2014 for continued construction of the school building. The lowest bid of the companies that tendered was CSSL Company Ltd., at a value of approx. 25M, and a construction contract was awarded in April 2015. Initial mobilization work was done by the contractor in the four months between the awarding of the contract and the People’s Partnership Government demitting office.
3. It is the understanding that no further construction has taken place on that site over the past 22 months by this P.N.M administration as in the 78 other schools that were being construction during the P.P term, not forgetting the 102 new schools constructed by the P.P Government during its 5 year term.
4. During this same period, the Egypt Government Primary School was constructed and significant works were done on Chatham and Cap-de-Ville Government Primary Schools, in addition to construction of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres, all in the Point Fortin constituency.
The Minister of Education and his Junior Minister must take full responsibility for what could be interpreted as a deliberate, vicious, vindictive and sinful attempt to spread gross untruths to mislead the country.
Both Ministers are strongly urged to significantly improve their continued failing performances in the education sector.