By anguillian January 29, 2018 10:21 Updated



Mrs. Cora Richardson-Hodge, the Elected Representative for District 2, (East End and Sandy Hill), welcomed the long-awaited town hall meeting which was held on the basketball court in that constituency on Saturday, January 21.
Among other matters, she gave credit to Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Victor Banks, his finance team and Governor Tim Foy, for “going above and beyond” to obtain a grant of sixty million pounds from the British Government to be used for Anguilla’s recovery from Hurricane Irma.

“We now have funds allocated to us which will become available in April this year,” she said. “What we are trying to do, however, is to see if we can get funds in advance to deal with some critical infrastructural issues.”

The Minister continued: “After Hurricane Irma, most of the schools suffered some sort of damage. In fact, in order for us to get some of them re-opened, we had to demolish some of the buildings as we could not allow them to remain as they were considered to be dangerous for our children.

“The two schools that suffered the most damage were the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School and the Morris Vanterpool School. These are the key schools for us in terms of doing major renovations. The majority of the funds that have been allocated to Anguilla, the sixty million pounds, will go towards education. For instance, at all the schools that were damaged, there were phase two and phase three construction that was to take place. That will now happen as a result of the funds we will be receiving.

“The Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School has some consultants who have been here from Barbados, before the hurricane, determining whether or not we needed a new high school or to rebuild the old one. Hurricane Irma made the decision for us. The consultants are now looking at building a new high school at the existing location. They were here about a week ago and brought a preliminary design plan. It went out to the Principal, the teachers, and others to see whether or not it was fit for purpose.

“The design had a backward s-shape for the buildings and the Principal, and most of the teachers, came back with the view that they wanted to have a u-shape for the school so that any teacher would see all of the children in the centre where they would congregate etc. The consultants were here again and we advised them about what was the general consensus. They have gone back to make the changes. In the preliminary design plans they did not have certain facilities like science and IT labs and those were also included for the new design plans. The consultants have to come back to us within a six-week period. We are trying to move the project forward, as quickly as we can, so that when the funds become available in April we should be ready to go with the construction of the new high school.”

As regards the new Morris Vanterpool Primary School to be built, the Minister told the gathering: “We are looking at the re-development of that school. A team was put together to look at different locations, in the East End community, which could be possible sites – and the team came back to us with possible suggestions. The Department of Lands and Surveys was also tasked with seeing what would be involved in acquiring the necessary land because all of the locations were not Government-owned. This present site is the only area owned by the Government.

“It seems, from all indications, that the preferred choice will be the existing location. A business case has to be made and finalised within the next week or two, and we should have a final response from the community and the Department of Lands and Surveys where the location for the school will be. Once that is done, the next step is to begin a design plan and we would want community involvement in that because it is for the community – and we want to make sure that the school includes all of the needed rooms, labs, cafeteria, auditorium, etc. that have been missing from the school. It must include a playing field as well. Now is the opportunity to have all of these facilities.”

During the question and answer period the East End residents, at the meeting, were adamant that the present site of the badly damaged school was the only ideal location acceptable to the community.

By anguillian January 29, 2018 10:21 Updated


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