DNA Question Millions Unaccounted For In New School Construction
Democratic National Alliance Question the Whereabouts of $20 Million Dollars Allocated For New School Construction Under Ingraham Administration
With a new school year about to begin, and overcrowding and inadequate facilities still a problem in most schools throughout The Bahamas, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is calling on the Government of The Bahamas to explain to the Bahamian people how the more than $20 million dollars allocated for the construction of new primary and high schools between 2008 and 2010 has been spent, particularly as no new primary or high schools were initiated or constructed during this administration's four-year term in office.
In addition to the $2.5 million dollars that the FNM (Free National Movement) government has set aside for new school construction in the 2011/2012 fiscal year, the DNA also notes that under Head Item 38 of the Capital Expenditure of this year’s budget, the government allocated $10.3 in 2008/09, $4.82 million in 2009/10, and $5 million in 2010/11 for new school construction, and yet no new schools were initiated or built under this administration’s watch.
The Party points out that in his 2007/2008 budget contribution, the then Minister of Education, Carl Bethel, promised that the FNM government would build a new junior high school in the southwestern part of New Providence. He also proposed that the government would construct a junior high school in Grand Bahama, pre-school at Lower Deadman’s Cay Primary School, primary school in George Town, Exuma and a school in San Salvador, among other things.
The following is attributed to the then Minister: “The failure to expand the number of schools in rapidly developing areas has led to over-crowding in existing schools, increased wear and tear upon already aging facilities, added to the strains and stress levels affecting teaching staff and administrators, and to the overall degrading of the quality of the educational experience for our children.”
Line items 722600 of the 2011/2012 budget entitled “Acquisition of Land for School Sites” makes it clear that this administration had set aside some $330,000 for the said purpose. And, therefore, in light of the FNM’s clearly articulated knowledge of the overcrowding problem, the DNA feels that this present administration should be able to give a clear explanation to the people of how the monies for the land and new schools were spent, particularly since the evidence of how it was spent is not visible.
We ask this administration to cease in its new rounds of politicized education promises and proposals. If they are a government of transparency and accountability, we are calling on this government, through its Minister of Education, to provide the Bahamian people with a status update on all previous “new” construction projects initiated and complete in this administration’s four year term in office.
Before coming to power in 2007, a contingent of FNM candidates turned out at the A. F. Adderley Junior High School and the site of the old T. G. Glover Primary School to attack the former administration for turning A. F. Adderley School into a “trailer park” and its inability to complete T. G. Glover School. And, although this administration promised to build 18 new classrooms, administrative rooms, science labs and a new administrative block at A. F. Adderley, the school remains the same as when the FNM came to power. Five years later, T. G. Glover is yet to be opened as a result of this administration’s feet dragging. The DNA sees this as a sad failure on the part of this administration.
The Party feels that our children deserve far better than they are getting with the Free National Movement and what they got with the Progressive Liberal Party. Bahamian parents are growing tired of the lip service being paid to education and the blame game that politicians continue to play, while nickel and diming the system to detriment of our children and our nation’s future. The DNA will not give this administration a free pass in this election and, along with the Bahamian people, will hold them accountable for all of the promises made and not kept over the past five years, particularly as it relates to the educating of our nation’s youth.
Like they held the PLP to account in 2006/2007, the DNA is now holding this administration to account and demand that they tell the Bahamian public what they did with the people’s money.