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Sands says it appears unlikely that some schools will be ready to reopen

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday it appears almost “impossible” for some schools to be ready for the opening of the school year.

“Many contractors just recently got their scopes and mobilization and a few have yet to start,” he said at a press conference at FNM headquarters.

“We have a systemic problem because the Ministry of Works is burdened with the management of the entire infrastructure of the government.

“I’m advised that the scopes didn’t come out until June or July. That is simply too late and it should have happened in January.

“The PLP in opposition criticized us about this all the time, yet it was the system they left in place and they did nothing to correct it.

“Now after nearly a year in office, and two cycles of school repairs, the problem still has not been fixed.

“We understand that the scopes for Grand Bahama came out about two weeks ago, which means that even with herculean efforts by the contractors, Grand Bahama schools will probably not be ready in time for September.”

But Minister of Education Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday dismissed Sands’ claim.

“I have not been advised of any school that will not reopen,” she said when called for comment.

During a tour of several government high schools last week, Hanna-Martin assured that school repairs will be done by the time schools are ready to open.

“In terms of meeting our deadlines, the contractors assure us that they will meet these deadlines,” Hanna-Martin said at the time.

“We’re trying very, very hard but a lot of the work is substantial. This is not just painting a door or putting a nail in the wall. You are seeing a redevelopment of our school campuses and we are doing that purposefully in the interests of the children of this nation.”

The government budgeted $15 million for school repairs in the current budget.

Hanna-Martin said major work is underway at T.A. Thompson Junior High School and C.H. Reeves Junior High School, but the contractors are working night and day to meet their deadlines.