PHOTO: “We temporarily housed students and committed to building a brand new high school”-Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd. In this Spokesman Snap, he is seen during a past media interview.
By: Spokesman Newsroom
BASSETERRE, St.Kitts – In making his presentation on the Basseterre High School (BHS) in Parliament on Thursday 10th August, the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, referred to page 41 of Team Unity’s manifesto leading up to January 2015 General Elections.
Liburd is the Parliamentary Representative of the Constituency One (East Basseterre) where the proposed land for the new BHS is located at Pond’s Estate. He is also a member of the PAM (People’s Action Movement) party.
The site chosen to build the new BHS located near the aquifer continues to be at the center of public controversy because it is seen as a major contamination threat to the nation’s water supply.
The identified section of Team Unity’s manifesto, Liburd said, “spoke to a new Basseterre High School for the people in this country”.
He also expressed during his speech that “We temporarily housed students and committed to building a brand new high school…”
The temporary school campus, built at Taylors Range, ran the government a cost of 5 million dollars while the construction of the new school is estimated a 40 million price tag.
Liburd, during his House of Assembly remarks talked about the suspected BHS health contamination issue as being a matter that was put to voters in seeking their support.
“…We recognised that this was an emergency as there existed a threat to public health; a threat to our welfare and safety of students and teachers and auxiliary workers. We recognised that Mr. Speaker and this we also recognised and the nation recognised then we took it to the people on our campaign that this was an emergency situation and they felt best, that if Labour (Party) failed for three and a half years, give us a chance and we will fix it within our term and that is what we are doing Mr. Speaker.”
In the lead up to the General Elections, that health contamination issue played out as a hot topic between the now opposition Labour Party and the present administration.
The Opposition has lashed out at the government for playing politics with the BHS including its rejection of the reports from three top overseas health agencies namely the Caribbean Public Health agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) both based in Trinidad and more so the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the US which called for reoccupying the school following repair work carried out.
The fresh argument levelled at the government by the opposition speaks to risking pollution to the nation’s water supply thus endangering the well-being of citizens and residents. Other concerned individuals, including various experts, continue to add their voices to the ongoing national drama.
The August 2015 publicised NIOSH report advised that all unfinished renovation be finished before “reoccupying the school.”
The Conclusions paragraph of that report read as follows:
“We did not find any major mold problems at the school during our assessment. The hydrogen sulfide odor that we smelled in the chemistry lab was likely due to a dry drain trap, and not from the water supply or from a leaking septic tank. Most of the classrooms were naturally ventilated and ANSIIASHRAE guidelines state that natural ventilation is not considered practical in hot and humid climates because it can be ineffective at maintaining the RH below 65% [ASHRAE 2009]. As far as we could determine the prior building and sewer problems at BHS had been adequately addressed, but additional repairs (for example, the metal roof over the wood shop and machine shop) are needed, and all unfinished renovation work needs to be completed prior to reoccupying the school. We did not determine if all of the air conditioners had been properly maintained or were functioning as designed. Routine maintenance of classroom buildings was a problem acknowledged by some of the school and government officials that we met in St. Kitts.”