Roseau, Dominica– May 10, 2010……… After many years of having to attend classes in an old and dilapidated school at the mercy of the vagaries of the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of excited school children, as well as teachers, parents and villagers turned up for the grand official opening of the new San Sauveur Primary School on Wednesday, April 28th 2010.
Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Hon. Petter Saint Jean, Parliamentary Representative for the Castle Bruce constituency, Hon. Johnson Drigo, Chief Education Officer, Mr. Stephenson Hyacinth and Principal of the San Sauveur Primary School, Mr. Athelstane Seraphine were among persons who addressed at the glittering ceremony.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Parliamentary Representative for the Castle Bruce constituency, Hon. Johnson Drigo referred to a visit to the old school by Prime Minister, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit several years ago.
“Sometime ago, at the request of the former Parliamentary Representative, Mrs. Loreen Bannis-Roberts, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit visited the constituency and saw the condition of the school as it was then. The Prime Minister immediately began negotiations for the much needed funds, to provide a school for our children of San Sauveur, Good Hope and Petite Soufriere, giving priority to us, ahead of his own constituency. This is ample attestation of the high regard that your government has for the people of this constituency.”
Hon. Drigo recalled the conditions at the old school, and expressed his gratitude to students and parents alike for their patience.
“Teachers, you no longer have to play chess with the children when it rains because of a leaking roof. No longer will the rain come right in, due to lack of windows, and no longer will the sea take debris right into your classrooms. Yes!! Gone are those days!!!
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to always remember that anything that is worth doing is worth waiting for. Principal, teachers, students, parents, people of San Sauveur, Good Hope and Petite Soufriere, we commend you for demonstrating the ability to wait, and to wait with patience. Today your patience is being rewarded.”
Hon. Drigo who is also the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works, Energy and Ports pointed to the efforts of his predecessor, Hon. Loreen Bannis-Roberts in the completion of this project.
“I take this opportunity to thank and publicly recognize the effort of our former Parliamentary Representative, Mrs. Loreen Bannis-Roberts. She is indeed a remarkable woman who has the interest of this constituency and by extension Dominica at heart. Mrs. Bannis-Roberts displayed great tenacity and courage and remained focused, to ensure the completion of this project. She represented this constituency exceptionally well. On behalf of the people of San Sauveur, the entire Castle Bruce constituency and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, I say thank you to her for a job well done.”
The efforts of former Minister for Education, now His Excellency, Vince Henderson and Miss Sonia Williams also a former Minister for Education, were also acknowledged.
In his address at the event, current Minister for Education, Hon. Petter Saint Jean stated that the facility “is a concrete monument to the Government’s promise to Dominicans to improve the quality of life and lift our people out of poverty”.
Hon. Saint Jean also paid tribute to the work of the consultants and the contractor on the project.
“I salute Mr. Burnette-Biscombe and the team of professionals at his consulting firm who created this masterful design. Mr. Melchidezeck Toussaint of Quic Design & Construction Company, our contractor, who with the patient oversight and guidance of Mr. Biscombe and Sharon Severin translated those designs into this magnificent edifice. Sir, you and your team of dedicated workmen, who I’ve been advised are all from the area have earned yourself a place among Dominica’s respected and acclaimed contractors.”
Speaking on behalf of the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Morella Joseph, congratulated the Government for its continued focus on education despite the challenges posed on its resources by the global financial and economic crisis.
“While our immediate attention is focussed on the impact of the global financial crisis, your Government has not lost sight of the critical role that education can play in the development process. We therefore applaud your country’s focus on education particularly in rural communities such as this one. In so doing the future looks promising for many of Dominica’s children because you have given them an opportunity to improve their lives’ chances and their own sense of purpose. Congratulations.”
The new San Sauveur Primary School was constructed with funds from the CARICOM Petroleum Fund, a facility established by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica.