Minister says no formal word of protest at SALCC

Education Minister, Doctor Gale Rigobert, has said she has received no formal word of any protest at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC).

She was responding to reports that some students had abandoned classes to call attention to poor conditions at the institution.

Rigobert told reporters she had heard that “something” was happening at the SALCC.

“I know the Principal, the Chair of the Board, my Permanent Secretary – we had a healthy meeting yesterday and there was no such indication that there were issues of such gravity that would prompt a protest action,” the minister explained.

She said the reported protest seemed to be coming out of “nowhere.”

“As I understand human interaction – human behavior, one would move to protest after having exhausted all channels. I have nothing on my desk nor have I learnt anything conversationally with the authorities to suggest that there were issues that would prompt or necessitate protest action,” Rigobert asserted.

The Minister recalled that at yesterday’s meeting with SALCC officials there was discussion in detail about the temporary arrangements at the George Charles Secondary School and what further steps were needed to enhance the space and make it more comfortable.

Rigobert said she was awaiting formal communication as to what may have prompted the protest and what the concerns of the students are.

The minister spoke as she visited St Mary’s College in the aftermath of two recent attacks by bandits on students of the school.

She declared that by her very presence at the college indicated that whenever there is a problem of grave magnitude, she and her technical staff pay swift attention.

A recent assessment done by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had revealed that many of the SALCC’s buildings have air quality issues and are infested with mold and termites.

The cost of addressing the problem was estimated to be in excess of EC$3 million.

The Government of Saint Lucia said it was seeking the assistance of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in this regard.

To provide temporary accommodation to the staff and students of the College, the Ministry of Education made available to the SALCC, the premises of the George Charles Secondary School as of August 15, 2016.

As a result,  all students and staff assigned to the George Charles Secondary School have been accommodated at the Jon Odlum Secondary School from September 05, 2016.