In September 2011, some three years ago, the current Minister of Education, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty, had a “life-saving”operation at a Miami Hospital. Here’s how the nation was updated on Carty’s condition the day after the operation: “When I spoke with him after surgery, he was in very, very good spirits, high spirits. I spoke to him last night and he has asked me to convey thanks, not only to those who assisted him while he was at our hospital, his doctors, the nursing staff and Administration and all who assisted him in getting out to Miami and he ask that I extend thanks to those who have been praying for him, his heartfelt thanks and appreciation,”Prime Minister Douglas said Tuesday during his weekly radio call in programme “Ask the Prime Minister.”Special arrangements were made to fly Minister Carty out to Miami after he spent some two weeks at the JNF hospital, gravely ill after a visit to the Cayon High School to give an “Independence’talk to students. “I made arrangements to travel, working closely with his doctors at the Joseph N. France General Hospital, the Nursing Staff and with the (Hospital) Administration and we were very pleased with the support that has been given and eventually he left on Sunday. He had emergency surgery yesterday (Monday) in Miami,”Prime Minister Douglas disclosed. Those ‘special arrangements”were made, at the expense of the taxpayers of this country, to save Minister Carty’s life. No one questioned whether or not they were proper. But even if they weren’t, they would have been drowned out by the national outpouring of concern and well wishes that Minister Carty received from Kittitians and Nevisians of all political color, at home and abroad. That show of empathy, that kind of care for persons in time of need, is who we are as “St. Kitts and Nevis people”…our passionate and emotional connection with the less fortunate in communities across this country is what defines us. It is that characteristic humane approach and the very fact that Minister Carty was given a second chance in life by the will of God and the kindness of our people, which continues to confound many citizens and residents here and overseas that Minister Carty has resorted to attacking those amongst us who have over the years demonstrated their concern about the health and safety of the children and teachers at the Basseterre High School (BHS). No one knows for sure what is happening at the BHS, whether this is all a big “hoax”by persons with political agendas or whether in fact the school is a “death trap”. What we do know is that Minister Carty and ultimately Prime Minister Douglas should err on the side of the children and teachers. The Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI), a “reputable organization”contracted by the Ministry of Education just over two years ago to conduct an “indoor air quality assessment”at the BHS, presented a “creditable report”in January 2013 to Minister Carty. The report says that CARIRI experts tested for, among other things, “fungal spores”and found that ‘there is a microbiological Indoor Air Quality problem occurring at the Biology, Chemistry and Physics laboratories of the Western Campus and at the Integrated Science Laboratory of the Eastern Campus.”The report went on to indicate that whilst healthy individuals at the school may not be at risk, there exists a threat to persons with weakened immune systems. We are aware that CARIRI, as well as a Ministry of Education appointed technical committee comprised of medical doctors and other scientists, made a number of recommendations intended to “clean up those problematic areas of the school prior to reoccupation by students and teachers”. It has been confirmed by Dr. Thelma Phillip-Browne, a Dermatologist and member of the technical committee, that a substantial number of those recommendations have not been implemented. It has also been confirmed by Mrs. Carlene Morton, Principal of the BHS, that students and teachers have reported a recurrence of the symptoms which led to the closure of the BHS Western Campus early last year. No one really knows at this point why students and teachers are getting sick at the BHS. Perhaps this is just a big “hoax”by parents and “psychosomatic students and teachers”with a political agenda. Or, perhaps the BHS is truly an unhealthy environment. Whatever it is, we will only know when cool heads prevail and a systematic approach is taken to address the problem. The fact is people are falling ill and it is now time to act expeditiously and decisively to find out why and solve the problem once and for all. As the beneficiary of the generosity of the people of this country at a critical time when he needed it, we think it is only right and proper that Minister Carty show the same concern for the welfare of the students and teachers at the BHS and err on the side of their health. There is no reason to believe that the taxpayers of this country will be disturbed in any way, if Minister Carty uses their money and does whatever it takes to ensure and preserve a healthy environment for the students and teachers at the BHS.