By Monique Washington
It is uncertain if the students and staff at the Jocelyn Liburd Primary School (JLPS) in Gingerland will have a new cafeteria in time for the school year in September.
School cafeteria construction began last year and it was scheduled to be completed in early 2016. On Wednesday, The Observer contacted the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Ministry Wakley Daniel,whosaid “that is our wish” that the cafeteria will be open in September.
“We are aiming for September but I’m not sure if it will be open right now,” Daniel said.
The Observer understands the building is completed but equipment has not been installed.The majority of public primary schools on the island offer a school meals program and a cafeteria is on their premises.
In the 2016 budget address by the PremierHon.VanceAmoryhe announced, “I am also happy to report that construction is currently underway at the Joycelyn Liburd Primary School to build a state of the art kitchen and cafeteria to facilitate the school meals program.”
The Premier added that in addition to the JLPS cafeteria “financing from the Basic Needs Trust Fund(BNTF) 8 program, work will also commence on the construction of a lunch room at the Cicely Brown Integrated School. These developments are significant as all public primary schools will now have a School Meals Program providing nutritious hot meals to all primary school students daily.”
On July 21, the BNTF opened an invitation for bids for the proposed Joycelyn Liburd Primary School Renovation Project. The proposalwould: refurbish washrooms for juniors and staff on the upper level; refurbish restrooms for kindergarten and staff on the lower level; build new timber framed roof over walkway to staff washrooms; repair existing rainwater guttering and down pipes; and install new catch basins for improved site drainage.
Permanent Secretary Daniel said that in addition to the Joycelyn Liburd Primary School Project, other the Public Works Department is carrying out minor repairs at all the other schools on the island. He added that because major repairs were done last year at public and primary schools, only minor touches are needed.
When asked if all minor repairs will be completed for the new school term the permanent secretary said,“that is our hope, we might have a spillover.”
When asked if the cafeteria will be opened before or after the school year, Daniel assured The Observer, “I will keep you posted.”