PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Teachers and students at the Ruby Labega Primary School are today breathing a sigh of relief after repairs were made to classrooms that had damaged roofs. Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the Honourable Wycliffe Smith visited the school during a shower of rain to attest to the teachers’ satisfaction with the progress. Temporary repairs were executed in the past, but due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances, these repairs had to be addressed again.
The repairs to the school will continue with other buildings on the campus in the coming weeks, including the administrative rooms and communal areas. Principal Esther Jeffers expressed her appreciation for the quick response of the minister and his cabinet Chief of Staff, Peter Gittens, as these repairs needed immediate attention. Minister Smith would also like to would like to acknowledge Mrs. Claire Elshot- Aventurin, who in her capacity as President of the WITU, initially notified his cabinet of the situation.
Following Hurricane Irma, public school buildings underwent Phase 1 of the Reconstruction plan where quick fixes were done to get schools to an operational level. In Phase 2, subsidized schools received funding for their repairs while the bidding process began for public schools. Large expenditure of public funds must undergo a process of public bidding after which repairs and reconstruction can begin. Public school buildings are being prepared for the general reconstruction phase according to the Governing Program 2018-2022 where buildings will be made hurricane-resilient. Discussions are also ongoing for funding from the World Bank.