MARIGOT–Reconstruction of schools, cleanliness and the environment were the main topics of the Sandy Ground Fête speeches on Wednesday, held in the parking lot of the Albéric Richards Stadium under the theme “Bouncing back with resilience and commitment.”
Fourth Vice-President Steven Patrick gave an overview of the work done to repair the Sandy Ground schools. Reconstruction work has been ongoing at the Aline Hanson and Jérôme Beaupere Schools. The latter of the two was badly damaged in the hurricanes. 140 of their pupils were accommodated in the Aline Hanson School after the hurricanes on a rotation system and the two schools were the only ones to complete their school year on this rotation schedule, he explained.
“I would like to thank the parents and teachers, and education staff because it was far from easy. We are aware of the efforts and the great sacrifice made,” he said.
“The Collectivité has spent over 150,000 euros on repairs to the Jérôme Beaupere pre-school that started in March and the last instalment began in the second week of August,” he continued. “Barring unforeseen circumstances, the school will be ready for return to school on September 3, 2018. We have 181 pupils enrolled and 19 kindergarten classes.
“The Aline Hanson Primary School suffered less damage. Work began in the last quarter of 2017 and was completed in May 2018 at a cost of 52,000 euros; 266 students are enrolled for the new school year. The Collectivité has committed 9.2 million euros in its 2018 budget for reconstruction to 18 public schools. Most of it will be completed by the back to school date, but some work will remain to be done. We anticipate it will be completed during holidays in November and December.
“We have done some inspections and I’m pleased to say that those schools in French Quarter and the primary schools will be ready to open. The Lycée and the Collège in French Quarter still has some cosmetic work to be done.”
Patrick urged inhabitants to make use of the “Good Building Practices” guides available in English and French and which can also be downloaded from the Collectivité website. He reminded that “cleanliness of the territory is everybody’s business.”
“An attractive territory brings tourism. The Collectivité’s responsibility is to maintain public spaces, but it is the population’s responsibility to clean and embellish their own private areas,” he stressed. “We must protect the environment for the sake of our children.”
Newly-elected representative of district four Cédric Andre called for the State and the Collectivité to work together “hand in hand” to help the population.
“More activities are need for the youth and the elderly,” he said. “I can also think of pavements that are needed on the side of the road leading from the schools to the bridge, for the safety of children and the elderly. Sandy Ground needs the help and it’s one of the districts that gets forgotten. I know because I grew up in Sandy Ground.”
Députée of St. Martin and St. Barths Claire Guion-Firmin, in her remarks, praised the work of associations in Sandy Ground such as Sandy Ground on the Move Insertion, and the Mad Twoz Association that works on behalf of the youth.
“Your work is remarkable,” she said. “Your engagement with the population is an essential part of life in the district. Rest assured that I will continue to help where I can.”
Préfète Sylvie Feucher stressed how important the input of the district councils is to the State and the Collectivité in regard to implementing projects and assisting the inhabitants of the districts. She thanked the former representatives of the districts for their work, and thanked the associations.
Earlier, an ecumenical church service was conducted by Pastor Eugene Hodge, the Reverend Terence Rawlins, and Father Marcin who is the Catholic Priest for the French side. They were accompanied by musicians and choir members.
Live music, entertainment and games were scheduled for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/79605-sandy-ground-schools-will-be-ready-for-september-3-start