Black Immigrant Daily News
The Scarborough Secondary School on Milford Road. –
TT Unified Teacher’s Association (TTUTA) Tobago Officer Bradon Roberts is calling for “concrete data” on relocation plans for the Scarborough Secondary School, even as the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) has reportedly identified a possible site in Bacolet.
Roberts spoke to Newsday on Tuesday after a follow-up meeting at the Shaw Park Complex, to further discuss the school’s relocation.
“The meeting was more a political one where you would discuss the plans for the school moving forward, without concrete data to work with. To me, a meeting is supposed to have a purpose; the meeting was just to have an image that we’re doing something and the politics of the thing.”
He said the meeting, which lasted for over two hours, was hosted by Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and included Education Secretary Zorisha Hackett, Assistant Secretary Orlando Kerr and a few stakeholders relevant to this project.
He said they were told that land in Bacolet, opposite the health centre, was being looked at.
“The design for the school hasn’t started, they created a team today to work on that.
“The survey for the lands – to make sure that the lands is suitable – hasn’t been done as yet.
“The timeframe they were working with is six months to a year for the designs and to get all those needful done. After that is to get the funding secured and to start building. The building might take anywhere between three to four years.”
Roberts added, “I could only be hopeful when I see action. We’ve had promises from how much administrations gone by, even in 2020 the (Finance) Secretary (Joel) Jack indicated that $200 million was put aside to start the works – I don’t even know what happened with that.
TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts –
“So I am not so much into been hopeful from a meeting – I want to see action. So when I see progress taking place, then I can start that sense of hope.”
This meeting comes after a December 14, 2021 letter to Hackett and Kerr by the school’s alumni association and its student council calling on them to urgently address issues affecting the school, by providing them with a new school. Scarborough Secondary has long been plagued by infrastructural challenges, which have been compounded by coastal erosion threatening its foundation.
President of the alumni Kevon McKenna told Newsday the relocation of the school has been a topic of repetitive discussion through different THA administrations.
“From letters and site visits dated 2019 and prior, major unremedied issues to this day pose serious threats to the safety and well-being of the teachers, students and all who are a part of and frequent the compound.”
These threats, he said, include but are not limited to unstable structures and land slippages.
He said, to date, only “band-aid” fixes and short-term repairs are being applied as they await an honest and straightforward plan of action regarding the new school.
The Division of Education on Saturday announced that the school will remain closed until January 9 to facilitate repair works.
Newsday understands a beam in the school’s auditorium is being replaced. Other repairs will continue on weekends and after school hours.
On Sunday Roberts criticised the division for starting the repair works too late and allowing it to affect the start of the new term. He called for a contingency plan in case the repairs are not completed in time.
He noted that the school still lacks functioning fire extinguishers, which he felt should have been addressed by now.