Region Eight residents to play integral role in Kato Secondary school repairs
GUYANA, GINA, Monday, February 27, 2016
Toshaos and other residents of Region Eight are now given the opportunity to play a greater role in ensuring that the Kato Secondary School repairs are done in keeping with requisite standards.
On Saturday, Toshaos and residents of Region Eight met with a government delegation on the way forward with respect to the defective Kato Secondary School. The delegation comprised Ministers of Public Infrastructure, Education, Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and Social Cohesion.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson said that the government is seeking to correct the mistakes of the past by having the people more involved in the process. During the consultation, it was proposed by the government delegation that an oversight committee be established to supervise the works at the school. The committee will be made up of four members, two from the Toshaos council, and one each from the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE), and the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
“If this four -person committee which you will have the majority on does not accept the work, we do not accept the work. So the only way we will be accepting the school to even move forward is if the committee, the four persons, they come and they inspect and say everything is to our satisfaction. If they do not, we do not accept it. So therefore obviously we are giving you the power to say what happens to the school, when it happens to the school and things like that,” Minister Patterson explained.
The proposal was accepted however, it was recommended that training be provided for the Toshaos so that they would have the capacity to understand the scope of the work being done.
Sherry Balkaran a Kato resident stated that, “I do hope that this committee will be trained, they will undergo certain training as to see, to
look and know what they are looking for… We may know how to mix cement yes, but then I would like to know a little bit more because I will not make joke when it comes to this part of the contract.”
The Ministers agreed with recommendation, noting that training will be provided for two persons selected, along with a copy of the contract.
After the engagement, an agreement was reached to move forward with the school’s repairs. Minister Patterson highlighted that the government “will now kick our efforts into high gear.”
The government is hoping to establish the committee as early as possible so that reconstruction of the Kato Secondary School can begin by the end of March. Minister of Education Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine is hopeful that the school can be reconstructed and completed in time for the September school term.
The construction of school was initiated under the previous administration, and cost about $1B, but has been deemed unsafe for occupancy. Two independent audits have already been conducted with the latest one estimating the repairs to the building will cost about $140M. Minister Patterson pointed out that a third audit will be conducted by GAPE which will submit a report to the government when completed.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite