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New proposal for Canouan Secondary Education

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has made it clear that he does not intend to build a secondary school on the Southern Grenadine island of Canouan, despite the inclusion of the project in the Unity Labour Party’s 2010 manifesto.{{more}}

Speaking at the convention of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) on Sunday, November 27, Gonsalves said that a new proposal was now being put on the table, which was that the developers of the resort on Canouan would provide a vessel “something valued at US$400,000”, and which is estimated to cost about US$10,000 a month to maintain.

This vessel, according to the prime minister, will have the capability of transporting the students to and from neighbouring Union Island, Bequia or the mainland where the majority of students would eventually attain their secondary school education.

The prime minister said that the proposal will also include a well equipped computer centre and library to assist in the students’ educational needs.

“Now that’s the proposal on the table,” Gonsalves said.

He explained that what should have rather been included in the manifesto was that the ULP led administration would provide secondary education for the students living there.

Gonsalves reiterated his explanation, given at the occasion of the opening of the new Union Island Secondary School when the parliamentary representative for the area, Terrance Ollivierre made a call for a school to be built on Canouan.

The response given then, and on Sunday, was that the number of students is not enough to warrant the need for a school on the island.

According to the prime minister, there are currently 18 students in the common entrance class, 8 to 10 of which may attend school on Bequia or the mainland.

“So you may end up having a first form with 8 to 10 students and five forms; that is 10 subjects to be taught means 10 teachers and a principal, you need science labs, but there is another way we can do it,” Gonsalves explained.

“If developers don’t like that, I would say well you want to do something not in your interest because if you build a school for 50 students you are going to have a substandard secondary school,” he continued.

Meanwhile the prime minister said that while the opposition are talking about a school on Canouan, the previous New Democratic Party led administration had done very little in the Grenadines with regard to providing schools.

He said that they built one school in Bequia, illegally acquired the Bequia Anglican School and built the Mary Hutchinson Primary School in Union Island in 1990, only to have the students evacuated and the building declared unsafe and the students forced to be relocated to the building which formerly housed the Union Island Secondary School which was built back in 1972.

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