Royal need for renovations at the Girls’ High School
As we went to press last night, public servants and private contractors were still trying to bring to a state of readiness, different sites around the country in time for a visit from members of the House of Windsor.
On Wednesday, St Vincent and the Grenadines will, for the third time in seven years, play host to immediate members of the Royal Family. In February 2012, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex visited as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II; then everyone’s favourite royal, Prince Harry, popped by in November 2016, during a Caribbean tour he was making on behalf of his grandmother; and tomorrow, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will visit as part of Caribbean tour.
Despite an increasing number of Vincentians, especially those of the younger generation, questioning the anachronism of an independent nation having a foreign monarch as its head of state, the royal couple will be treated to genuine Vincentian hospitality during the time they are here.
One of the stops to be made by Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, is at the St Vincent Girls’ High School, an educational institution whose beginnings are deeply rooted in our colonial past.
When SEARCHLIGHT dropped by the school on Monday afternoon, scaffolding was still up, and the exterior walls of the Grimble building were being scraped in preparation for painting. Truth be told, that school, the Grimble building in particular, needs far more than the facelift it is being given on account of the visit by the Royals.
The Grimble building, named in honour of Arthur Francis Grimble, the Administrator of St Vincent from 1933 to 1936, has been occupied by the 108-year-old school since January 1935, and it shows.
Although emergency repair work and miscellaneous patchwork have been done on different parts of the building over the years, it is long overdue for comprehensive structural renovation.
Of course, any work done, must as far as possible, retain the building’s distinctive architectural design out of respect for its status as an historic landmark of our country.
But the royal need for repairs at the school has been known for decades, but other than talk, very little else has happened. Would it not be wonderful if the international spotlight into which the school is being placed make the major renovations happen?