Jamaica Gleaner

Drought threat­ens back-to-school

- Ryon Jones Staff Re­porter ryon.jones@glean­erjm.com

WITH SE­VERE drought af­fect­ing the coun­try, and most schools sched­uled to be­gin the new aca­demic year in less than a month, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is brac­ing for a pos­si­ble dis­rup­tion of classes.

“It is pos­si­ble, (but) we hope not,” Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Ron­ald Th­waites told The Sun­day Gleaner.

“But we have a con­tin­gency plan. A meet­ing took place ear­lier this week (last week) to look at schools that don’t have a tank at all, to see how pro­vi­sions can be made. We have re­ceived con­sid­er­able as­sis­tance from CHASE Fund (The Cul­ture, Health, Arts, Sports and Ed­u­ca­tion), JSIF (The Ja­maica So­cial In­vest­ment Fund), Food for the Poor and some of the foun­da­tions, Dig­i­cel pri­mary among them,” added Th­waites.

Ac­cord­ing to Th­waites, a list will be pro­vided to the Min­istry of Wa­ter, Land, En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change for t hose schools which will need as­sis­tance.

How­ever, all prepa­ra­tions will not be put in place un­til closer to the start of the school year.

“We have to be very care­ful, be­cause last year when we did this, even as the sit­u­a­tion was less acute, by the time schools opened, the tanks were empty,” said Th­waites.

DIF­FI­CULT SIT­U­A­TION

“So what we are do­ing is wait­ing un­til closer to school time, then we will be mak­ing fi­nal prepa­ra­tions when classes start. It is go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion.”

The drought is also pos­ing a dan­ger to in­fra­struc­ture, with prin­ci­pal of the Hamp­ton School lo­cated in St El­iz­a­beth, Heather Mur­ray, re­veal­ing that bush fires threat­ened the build­ing last Tues­day.

“I had to have ex­tra per­sons out yesterday, be­cause of the bush fires, to man the fence lines and pre­vent the 150-yearold build­ing from be­ing burnt flat,” said Mur­ray.

 ?? FILE ?? Elaine Cow­ard-Barnes (left), vice-prin­ci­pal at Clar­ion Ba­sic School in Maver­ley, St An­drew, says thanks to Lin­del Parke, pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy’s Hu­man Re­source, Ad­min­is­tra­tive and In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment Sys­tem, shortly af­ter he...
FILE Elaine Cow­ard-Barnes (left), vice-prin­ci­pal at Clar­ion Ba­sic School in Maver­ley, St An­drew, says thanks to Lin­del Parke, pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy’s Hu­man Re­source, Ad­min­is­tra­tive and In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment Sys­tem, shortly af­ter he...

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