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Fancy gets brand new school bus

Fancy gets brand new school bus

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A brand new 30-seater school bus was on Thursday, March 19, handed over to the community of Fancy.

The bus was purchased with funds provided by the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), The Mustique Charitable Trust, PetroCaribe and the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

The Nissan bus replaces the privately owned omnibus that was destroyed on January 12, 2015, when it plunged into the sea at Rock Gutter, Owia, resulting in the loss of seven lives.

The contributions, which went towards the purchase of the bus include $100,000 from the NLA; $100,000 from The Mustique Charitable Trust and $50,000 from Petro Caribe. Coreas Hazells Inc provided the Government with a $15,000 discount on the purchase price of the bus, while the Government paid to have the vehicle licensed and insured.

Addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said after the Rock Gutter tragedy on January 12, 2015 in which seven students lost their lives, the Government had to buy a bus.

“When the bus went over at Rock Gutter, there was no bus, so I had to buy one. And once I decide to buy, you know I buying Fancy the best… Those who want to talk, let them talk. I am giving Fancy the best,” Gonsalves said.

The Prime Minister mentioned that in addition to the six school buses owned and operated by the Government, private buses used to transport students are subsidized by the Government.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Transport and Works Hudson Nedd has been vested with the responsibility to take care of the bus.

Sharing brief remarks, Nedd assured that his ministry will provide a high level of service in transporting the community’s children safely to their various schools between Fancy and North Union. He also asked for the students’ commitment in doing their part in taking care of the bus.

“Sometimes they are full of so much energy and when they get on the buses, their energy breaks loose. Although they do not mean to cause harm and damage, their pens are in their hands and as they are throwing a nice, sweet joke, they are stabbing at the seats in the vehicle,” Nedd stated.

Representing the Mustique Charitable Trust, administrator Lavina Gunn said when Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves contacted the Trust about the bus, they immediately acted.

“Without hesitation, it was agreed immediately that $100,000 would be made as a contribution towards the purchase of the bus,” Gunn said.

The Trust administrator said she hopes that the bus will provide meaningful and practical help for the community of Fancy and noted that the Trust has replaced uniforms, school bags, text books, and supplies for those students in need. The funds for this donation by the Mustique Charitable Trust came from their affiliated Trust, The UK Friends of the Mustique Charitable Trust.

Chair of the National Lotteries Authority Murray Bullock said it was an easy decision to make when they were approached by the Prime Minister. He also asked that there be regular preventative maintenance done on the bus.

“Preventative maintenance is vitally essential,” Bullock said, while urging the driver of the bus to exercise caution with the passengers in his care.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for North Windward Montgomery Daniel said having a bus valued at $500,000 is something that they should all be thankful for.

According to Daniel, the bus is the second that has been bought for his constituency since the Unity Labour Party (ULP) took office in 2001.

“…In my period of time here as representative of the constituency, I have delivered this community two brand new school buses as representative for this constituency,” Daniel said.

Malika Joseph, administrative officer of PetroCaribe, said when they were asked to co-sponsor the purchase of the bus, they were very delighted. We stood with the people of Fancy… Know that PetroCaribe is here to support, not with just the purchase of the bus, but in any further assistance that we are willing to give. We are here for you,” Joseph said.

At the closing of the ceremony, Jemma Edwards, mother of students Jamal and Jamalie Edwards who lost their lives at Rock Gutter, did the cutting of the ribbon, which signalled the official handing over the new bus. (KW)

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