The safety and comfort of students have always been a priority for the Government of Dominica, and staff and students of the Wills Strathmore Stevens Primary School have benefitted from this as the newly rehabilitated infrastructure was handed over on Friday, May 13 2022.
The WSSPS is one of four primary schools which received a significant upgrade under the Dominica Climate Resilience and Restoration Project prepared in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and financed with support from the Government of Canada, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Dominica.
Minister of State in the Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security, Senator Gregory Riviere described the new school as evidence of another promise made and kept by the Government.
“When this Labour Party Administration makes a promise it keeps it, and standing here today is testament, evidence, proof and witness to that fact that when we make a promise we keep that promise. Our school must be a place of learning and training but it is a space also to facilitate and host community activities. This new and improved auditorium should be fully utilized in a responsible manner, we need to organize adult education trainings, parenting programmes, cultural engagements and the likes,” Senator Riviere noted.
Member of Parliament for the Marigot Constituency, Hon. Lennox Linton stated that the facility represents a major improvement to what residents have known the school to be.
“So we continuously improve. We go from strength and strength. I express the hope and prayer that this new facilities that we commission today will redound to the benefit of the community as never before and will in fact be the platform on which we continue to rise to higher levels of education, advancement, leadership opportunities for ourselves here in Marigot and Dominica as a whole,” Hon. Linton stated.
High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee stated that the newly rehabilitated school is the result of a pledge made by the Government of Canada.
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 Canada pledged a hundred million Canadian dollars towards reconstruction and resilience in the Caribbean which I am now happy to say has been fully disbursed. As part of this pledge Canada provided 9.25 million Canadian dollars to restore five primary schools and provide training on construction skills necessary for resilient construction; as well as to provide Dominica with coverage under the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility over a two year period,” Her Excellency noted.
Division Chief of the Social Sector Division of the CDB, Mrs. Deidre Clarendon said that the new facilities were built in keeping with Governments vision of Dominica becoming a climate resilient nation.
“In delivering this school, the facilities were designed to mitigate floods, landslides, hurricane hazards and torrential rain. Emphasis was placed on designs to resist hurricane force winds in accordance with the OECS building codes. This also included infrastructure solutions to accommodate persons with disabilities. We also incorporated renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions including the use of energy efficient lighting fixtures and equipment. Overall the rehabilitation and reconstruction met the safe school standards with the development of individual schools safety disaster risk reduction management plans. The infrastructural design of this school is reflective of Government’s build back better vision to position Dominica as the first country in the region with enhanced socio-economic wellbeing and a resilient country,” Mrs. Claredon explained.
Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence, Hon. Octavia Alfred noted that this new facility will serve students in all capacities.
“We are celebrating the opening of a centre of learning which represents new opportunities, not only for our students but for the entire community. We are not only celebrating the opening of a school but indeed we are also celebrating a new philosophy of schooling. We are celebrating a philosophy where the school serves as a one stop shop for students. One where they can socialize with friends, feel welcomed by their teachers, where they can enjoy a healthy meal, develop important life skills and appreciate the environment in which they learn. A philosophy where parents as well can benefit from the learning opportunities provided by the school,” Hon. Alfred stated.
Senior Minister and Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Reginald Austrie went on to say that the rehabilitation of this school and others around Dominica will give students a comfortable place where they can learn and develop their talents.
“These new and improved facilities represents for students a happy and comfortable place where they can learn and develop their talents and their skills. The investments we are making as a Government, with the support of our invaluable partners, provide a solid foundation for improving students learning and performance and supporting our children as they grow and learn,” Hon. Austrie added.