Basseterre – Chairperson of the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Hon Marcella Liburd says it’s interesting that the St Kitts Teachers Union, the Principal and Teaching fraternity at the BHS were not represented at the recent debriefing between the ministries of Education and Health and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The Labour Party Caretaker for St Christopher 8, Dr Terrance Drew called on the TEAM UNITY Government to exercise full transparency on the BHS issue, to conduct tests to ensure that the abandoned Fort Thomas Hotel is free of fungus if BHS students and teachers are to be relocated there for the new school term.
In calling on the TEAM UNITY Government to exercise full transparency on the BHS issue and keep the politics out of the serious matter which affects the nation, the parents and teachers, Dr Drew during Freedom FM’s “Issues” program on Wednesday raised serious concern about placing students of the BHS in the Fort Thomas Hotel.
“One of the issues at the Basseterre High School was the issue of fungus. A concern at the Fort Thomas Hotel would be the probability of fungus at the Fort Thomas Hotel that has been abandoned for the past several years.
“Of course from a medical profession and health perspective there must be some sort of fungus growing there and subject to adequate tests, it is highly suspicious that some of these agents that they say exist at the BHS are present at the Fort Thomas Hotel,” said Dr Drew.
He is of the view that before the students and teachers are relocated to the Fort Thomas Hotel compound, the health professionals will visit the compound and carry put the appropriate tests.
“I hope it will be a transparent process where all can see the result of the testing of the Fort Thomas Hotel as I am very suspicious as to the environment that is there and whether the environment is wholesome,” said Dr Drew.
. With regards to the BHS, Dr Drew questioned the seemingly lack of interest by the St Kitts Teachers Union following their shut out from the debriefing meeting between the visiting officials from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the prime minister and the ministers of health and education.
“As a medical practitioner i need to know if those people at the Basseterre High School were exposed to anything,” said Dr Drew, who issued a public call to the Ministers of Health and Education to “reveal the information from the debriefing to the BHS students, their parents and teachers. Let us remove the politics from it and let the information be transparent,”
“I call on the Principal (Mrs Carleen Henry) , who i think cares about her students, the doctor (Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne) to stick with the students and the President of the Teachers Union (Ron Collins) to continue to be tough on the government and to make sure that the information is available to the public as he was before and which i think was the correct thing to do even though we were on a different political divide and let us keep the interests of the students and the parent in our hearts,” Dr Drew said.
Ms. Liburd, the former Minister of Health pointing out that the school’s principal, staff, Teacher’s Union and parents were involved in almost all of the discussions in the BHS matter when the Labour Government was in office, noted that Education Minister Hon Shawn Richards has also not intimated that the general public, the teachers and parents have not even been told what the preliminary findings of the NIOSH officials were at the debriefing.
“Is it that they are trying to hide something, because normally the debriefing would give an idea of what is happening at the school as has happened with CARPHA and CARRIRI? What is there to hide,” said Liburd again highlighting that the government ministries excluded the Teachers Union from the debriefing.
She also noted that when the Labour Party was in government, the Teacher’s Union held several meetings with parents to as they put it, keeping the parents informed , but since there is a TEAM UNITY Government in office led by the PAM Prime Minister Harris “the BHS parents do not know what is happening. The parents are meeting us and asking what is happening at the BHS.”
She pointed out that Teachers Union President Ron Collins, a guidance counsellor at the school and who orchestrated the strikes and walkouts and fierce opposition on the BHS matter is tipped to become the Deputy of the BHS.
“This is very interesting because Collins is President of the Teachers Union and i am wondering if there is a conflict of interest when also at the same time the Teachers Union General Secretary Mrs. Carleen Moron is also the Principal of the BHS,” she said, adding:
“Maybe it’s time for the Teacher’s Union to ask themselves the question. To me it is a clear conflict of interest. Which hat will they put on if there is an issue?”