January 22, 2008
A brand new state of the art primary school was commissioned on Thursday January 16, 2008, at the Flats in St. John’s Parish IN Nevis and government officials have put the final cost in the region of EC$3.9 million.
The school was part of the civil works component of the Basic Education Project funded jointly by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). Construction began in November 2005 and was completed in early July 2007.
Prior to declaring the school opened, Premier of Nevis and Minister of Education the Hon. Joseph Parry shared the credit with the past Administration who had initiated the project and the Nevis Reformation Party led-Administration who ensured its completion.
He, however, pointed out that the winners were the people of Nevis in particular the people of St. John’s whom he told to embrace the new primary school as a shining light in their community and a new beginning.
“Protect it, defend it, care for it and use it well. You have in the past demonstrated that spirit of togetherness which was so ably exemplified by the members of the St. John’s Community Improvement Club (SJCIC), your community group. Let that spirit lead you as we work to better the standard of living for you and all Nevisians.
“Let this be a new beginning and let the parents and teachers lead the way. Say it and mean it. Say no to drugs, say no to gangs and crime. Root these bad habits out of our society. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes only one person to destroy a school,” he said.
Premier Parry pointed out that it was the responsibility of his government to establish the tone and standard of living for that community and cautioned that children observed and copied what they saw therefore, it was of utmost importance that the adults in the community practiced good values and conducted themselves well at all times.
He assured the gathering that his Administration would immediately begin preparations for the implementation of a School Meals Programme in readiness for the next school term.
The Minister of Education also disclosed that government would provide a playing field for the school and community but noted that the community would not have access to the school’s premises but would utilise a different entrance to the field. He said this would reduce vandalism and the creation of problems of one kind or another at the school.
Minister of Social Transformation and Area Representative for the St. John’s Constituency, the Hon. Hensley Daniel, in his address thanked the entire country for their support and said an investment in education paid the highest dividend. He said the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) was cognizant of the cost of education and had anchored its social and economic policies on education.
Minister Daniel also called on the St. John’s residents to care the building. He noted that government had financed the construction and installation kitchen cupboards and others in the science labs and computer room; chalkboards in all classrooms; the fencing and landscaping of the grounds and construction of a retaining wall.
The two storey building was designed to provide modern learning accommodation for students aged 5 to 12 years and could house approximately 175 students. The facility has four areas of use; namely classroom, assembly area, administration wing and services which include reception, sickbay and kitchen.
Other features provide for internet access from several locations, a fire suppression system, and oversized toilet cubicles for use by wheel chair-bound persons.
Except for the new wing at the Charlestown Secondary School which was recently commissioned, the new St. John’s Primary School is unlike other school buildings across the island.
During the event, the St. John’s Primary School choir led by teacher Mrs. Dahlia Prentice, rendered selections that blended with the occasion while student Ms. Somiche Guishard recited a poem penned by teacher Miss Tamisha Saddler fittingly called “It’s About Time.
Pastor Simeon Prentice (parent) gave the invocation and later had the honor of blessing the learning facility. Principal Carl Williams gave the vote of thanks prior to the ceremonial ribbon-cutting which was performed by former principal, Mrs. Shirley Browne a resident of the St. John’s community.
The ceremony was chaired by Principal Education Officer (PEO) Mrs. Jennifer Hodge and attended by Deputy Governor General, His Honor Mr. Eustace John, President of the Nevis Island Assembly Mrs. Marjorie Morton, Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Cabinet, the Hon. Mark Brantley, Ministers of the NIA, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education in the Federal Government Mr. Eugene Petty, education officials, past principals and staff, parents and students.
After the cutting of the ribbon patrons were invited to tour the new St. John’s Primary School, socialise and partake in refreshments.