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Minister Christopher Sinckler is surrounded by excited children at the Deacon’s Primary School, following a morning awards ceremony, as part of their Independence celebrations.


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Funding approved for improvements at Deacons Primary


By Katrinah Best

MINISTER of Social Care, Constituency Empower-ment and Rural, Urban Development, Christopher Sinckler, was forthcoming with his own mischievous days at school, but there ended the frivolity with a very serious tone set for the primary schoolchildren at the Deacons Primary School, St. Michael, yesterday morning, including the assurance of funding for improvements to the school by the next academic term.

The Minister had been invited to set the stage for the school’s Independence celebrations as well as to present awards of merit to ten members of staff – both teaching and non-teaching.

His message to the young children was given within the context of the island’s status as one of the more accomplished developing countries and he also took a look back at years of progressive government, including the foresight of the Father of Independence, the Right Excellent Errol Walton Barrow in making provision for free education.

With an acceptance that children would be troublesome at times, Minister Sinckler, himself acknowledged as such during his own schooldays, advised of
the importance of valuing and taking advantage of free education as introduced through the vision of the former Prime Minister.

To the staff members awarded, he extended a note of congratulations, honouring their part to play in advancing the education of the children. “You have contributed to many a success in this school and we remain committed in the Government to ensure that all of our primary schools are properly outfitted and I promise you this – that by the time you return from your Christmas vacation, you will have a new gate, new lighting, the stairs covered and the building re-painted. The money has been approved by Parliament. It’s just a matter of getting the services contracted to get the work done,” he said.

The announcement fuelled thunderous applause from both teachers and students alike with Principal, Shirley Marshall, mentioning the tremendous boost she expected from all parties. Ms. Marshall attended the school as a pupil herself, going on to become a senior teacher and within the last term, Principal. She spoke of her delight at the Government assistance. “It makes me feel so good because I would have left here five years ago as a teacher and to come back now and see the same existing conditions... It’s time for change. The school is pretty old and was only renovated for EduTech but it’s not been well kept... Morale is low amongst teachers, parents and students. It takes away my energy when I could be in the class focusing on what is happening there. But, instead, I have to be dealing with issues with the building itself. Someone telling me the pipe is leaking etc,” she said.

With a categorical statement from the Principal that the school had received very little in the way of renovation since its official opening in 1964, a further bone of contention arose concerning the fact that there appeared to be inequity with the assistance meted out to schools from Government. It was a point the Minister was unabashed in responding to with a firm nod of agreement given.

“I’ve learnt that is a fact and it is also my belief. It might be a mistaken belief but I’ve learnt that from my own observation and my own experience; and the Minister of Education will tell you that I have been behind him to ensure that services and gifts that are necessary to the school functioning in my constituency are provided. There are a number of issues here that need to be addressed. The Minister was here only this month to speak to them... There are things here at this school to be done. A proper security fence; the stairs need to be done... there are lighting issues; people have been assaulted here in this gap. The security features at this school are really not appropriate for these young children and it is my intention to ensure that these are done,” he stated.

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