CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — History was made on the grounds of the Gingerland Secondary School (GSS) when Hon. Jonel Powell, Federal Minister of Education; and Hon. Troy Liburd, Junior Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), turned the sod on August 6, signalling the start of construction of a near EC$4million state-of-the art multi-purpose technical wing.
The new wing forms part of the US$8million St. Kitts and Nevis Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Enhancement Project, an initiative of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Federal Government and NIA. It is being executed by the TVET Secretariat in the Ministry of Education in St. Kitts. The Federal Minister of Education gave some details about the new facility for which construction was about to begin.
Among those present at the ceremony were: Premier and Senior Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration, Hon. Mark Brantley; Area Representative and Minister of Youth, Hon. Eric Evelyn and Minister of Youth, Hon. Spencer Brand; Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams; Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Vincent Hodge; and Chief Executive Officer of the TVET Secretariat, Dr. Kertney Thompson.
During the ceremony other remarks came from FDL Consult Inc. Engineer, Mr. Darius Cumberbatch; and Project Manager Mr. Lester Blackett, gave an overview of the project.
Welcome remarks were presented by TVET Officer at the Department of Education, Mr. Dorson Ottley; GSS student Ms. Destiny Lowe sang the national anthem; and Pastor Joseph Morton delivered the invocation.
“This new two-storey building that will accommodate woodwork and technical drawing spaces, and the addition of a new cosmetology centre,” said Hon. Jonel Powell. ”The new facility will provide the necessary space to meet the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) facility standards.
“This new wing will give Nevis its first CVQ-ready facility, which will then be audited by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the SKN TVET Council for Centre Approval and designation as a CVQ/NVQ Centre.”
The minister applauded those who will be involved in the construction of the new wing next year.
“The original concepts of the structure to be erected were developed by the Public Works Department in the NIA,” said Hon. Powell. “We applaud that department for their contribution to this project. The finalised drawings were done by FDL Consult Inc. out of St. Lucia, the Design and Engineering Supervision Consultants.
“Congratulations to the contractor, Lefco Construction and Equipment Rental from Nevis who won the bid from among the tenders from St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago. As we break ground for this new technical wing, we set our sights 12 months down the road to receive a spanking new building to start the beginning of the academic year 2021-2022.”
“The facility will enhance the delivery of technical and vocational education on Nevis,” said Hon. Liburd. “We want to enhance the delivery of technical and vocational education to our young people here on Nevis so that those who are technically inclined and those who are academically inclined and technically inclined can have a place to grow those intentions.”
The Junior Education Minister explained that the time came a few weeks ago to demolish the structure which stood on the area designated for the new facility. That structure had served the school for several years.
“The time came to break down and so we broke down, and now we are here because it is time to rebuild. We are going to rebuild better, stronger,” said Liburd. “We are going to be building a structure that is going to be functionally relevant and structurally relevant for a long, long time to come.”