World Bank ap­proves fund­ing for re­con­struc­tion of Choiseul Sec­ondary School

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Guy Joseph, Min­is­ter for Economic Devel­op­ment, Hous­ing, and Ur­ban Re­newal dur­ing the re­cently held par­lia­men­tary sit­ting on Tues­day, made a state­ment in Par­lia­ment on the “Re­con­struc­tion of the Choiseul Sec­ondary School”. Min­is­ter Joseph re­it­er­ated that the World Bank has ap­proved fund­ing for the Re­con­struc­tion of the Choiseul Sec­ondary School, under the Dis­as­ter Vul­ner­a­bil­ity Re­duc­tion Pro­ject.

The Economic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter said: “Specif­i­cally fund­ing has been ap­proved for the works con­tract and en­gage­ment of a con­sul­tant to pro­vide as­sis­tance to the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia with pre­con­struc­tion, (tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion bids), con­struc­tion (su­per­vi­sion of works) and post con­struc­tion ser­vices dur­ing the de­fects li­a­bil­ity pe­riod.”

The re­con­struc­tion of the sec­ondary school Min­is­ter Joseph in­di­cated will be­gin with Block C which is in ur­gent need of at­ten­tion. “All works would be sched­uled such that the on­go­ing school year in par­tic­u­lar ex­ams and CXC would not be dis­rupted.”

The Min­is­ter out­lined the ini­tial sched­ule that had been laid out to re­spond ex­pe­di­tiously to the school’s is­sues. “Should all clar­i­fi­ca­tions to bid­ders be is­sued within the agreed time frame of Fe­bru­ary 15, 2016 the contractor would be able to mo­bi­lize by June 2016. The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion would pro­vide the list of equip­ment and fur­ni­ture for spe­cial­ized class­rooms com­pris­ing IT, Lab Ser­vices and TVET. Con­struc­tion would be un­der­taken us­ing a phased ap­proach com­menc­ing with Block C. Du­ra­tion of works – 14 months and there­fore op­er­a­tions at the school would be sus­pended for two years.”

How­ever, Mr. Joseph pointed to de­lays, which slowed down the process sig­nif­i­cantly:

“The bid­ding doc­u­ment was is­sued on Jan­uary 11, 2016. The Ad­den­dum to the Bid­ding doc­u­ment was is­sued on April 11, 2016 and not on Fe­bru­ary 16, 2016 (two months de­lay) as planned due to de­lay in sub­mis­sion of the in­for­ma­tion by the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.”

Min­is­ter Joseph fur­ther dis­closed that: “De­ter­mi­na­tion of ad­min­is­tra­tive com­pli­ance (re­spon­sive­ness of Bids) was de­layed as Eval­u­a­tors who were ei­ther on va­ca­tion leave or sick leave.” He said not­with­stand­ing plans are mov­ing ahead, for the erec­tion of ren­der­ing and pro­ject sign boards by Novem­ber 11, 2016 and award of both con­tracts by mid Novem­ber 2016, con­sul­tancy by Novem­ber 8, 2016 (to be done by Cen­tral Ten­ders Board by round robin) and works con­tract by Novem­ber 16, 2016.”

Ed­u­ca­tion Au­thor­i­ties have in­di­cated that while the pro­ject is on-go­ing the Pi­aye Sec­ondary School will pro­vide Science Lab sup­port to the Choiseul Sec­ondary School, while the NSDC Fa­cil­i­ties ad­ja­cent to the school have been iden­ti­fied for the re­lo­ca­tion of af­fected stu­dents.

Min­is­ter Guy Joseph said the re­con­struc­tion pro­ject would be­gin in earnest as soon as stu­dents are re­lo­cated in keep­ing with dis­cus­sions with ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties.

Mean­time, the Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Choiseul Hon­ourable Bradly Felix has re­as­sured stu­dents of the Choiseul Sec­ondary School that their con­cerns will be ad­dressed ex­pe­di­tiously.

Min­is­ter Felix un­der­scored that Ed­u­ca­tion as a high pri­or­ity area on gov­ern­ment’s agenda. The Min­is­ter en­dorsed a pend­ing de­ci­sion of the Gov­ern­ment to re­move the Plant and Equip­ment Unit from the Min­istry of In­fra­struc­ture where it had been shifted by the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, and to re­turn it to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion. This Unit was re­spon­si­ble for the main­te­nance and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of schools: “There is a di­rect co-re­la­tion be­tween the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and the schools ob­vi­ously and so the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion will be able to re­spond a lot quicker to their needs and de­sires.”

Min­is­ter Joseph sought to re­as­sure the stu­dents of the of Choiseul Sec­ondary School that re­con­struc­tion will com­mence on their in­sti­tu­tion soon.

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