Maintenance concern raised


General Secretary of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Andrew Brathwaite, says there is a definite need for proper maintenance programmes to be established for schools across this country.
He made the call while addressing the BSTU’s meeting at Solidarity House earlier this week. Brathwaite lamented that the school plants are getting “tired and old” and little is being done to address these issues.
“Some of us may sit back and say well that’s Combermere and that’s not where I work, but note what has been happening recently and I am very serious about health and safety. Note what has been happening recently – Springer Memorial, Combermere School, we’ve had environmental issues at Harrison College, we’ve had Christ Church Foundation School, The Lodge School and today [Monday] Mary [Redman] visited the Grantley Adams Memorial School. That is six plants in a year’s time. Tell me that we don’t have issues; tell me that we don’t have to pay attention to maintenance in our schools; tell me that we don’t need to pay attention to preventative maintenance in our schools,” he said.
The teacher also noted that the very nature of the school environment, with lots of paper being stored on the premises, makes it ripe for dust mites to live and so those areas needed to be cleaned on a regular basis. Regular cleaning must also be done in respect of the wells at each of the schools as sewage gases, he noted, can have a devastating and debilitating impact on those who inhale them. Symptoms, he pointed out, include nervousness, dizziness, nausea, headaches, drowsiness and respiratory problems.
“We have to put our foot down in areas like this, because it really hurts when I know that my colleagues are suffering and we are going along and doing nothing. It is wrong, something is seriously wrong as far as I am concerned,” he said.
Adding to his comments, First Vice President, Erskine Padmore, raised concern about whether those being employed to carry out the “industrial cleaning” at the schools, which currently are having en-vironmental challenges, were required to meet any standards.
“It seems as if they are just hiring cleaning firms who come and clean and then they call that industrial cleaning. I even had to ask that question today [Monday] at my staff meeting at The Lodge School, which was industrially cleaned they said, and I wanted to find out if after that there would be some certificate to show the place has been cleaned and if the place is good to come into,” he stated. (JRT)

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