(PLTM) - GIS - Minister for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Honourable Sharie de Castro says the new school on Jost Van Dyke is a beacon of hope, a symbol of progress and a testament of the collective commitment to the dreams and aspirations of the people of Jost Van Dyke.
Honourable de Castro while addressing the official opening of the building constructed by Quality Construction said the new facility is a crucial step forward.
The Minister said, “School infrastructure really plays a crucial role in the shaping any child’s educational journey. We believe that this brand new facility is a crucial step forward. It is long awaited but much needed and it will immensely impact the learning experience of every single child on Jost Van Dyke.”
Honourable de Castro added, “Let us celebrate not only the bricks and mortar, but the boundless possibilities that this new chapter in education will bring for the people of Jost Van Dyke. May Jost Van Dyke Primary School be a place where dreams take flight, and where the seeds of knowledge blossom into a brighter future for all, and may this school be a source of pride and inspiration for generations to come.”
Meanwhile, Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley said the Government of the Virgin Islands is committed to providing equity in education and public services to all residents of the sister islands.
Premier Wheatley said, “A lot of times, individuals who live on these islands with smaller populations feel neglected, they feel as though their needs are not being adequately looked after. They feel ignored and they feel forgotten, and it is our duty as a Government, our moral responsibility to ensure that despite where you are in the Virgin Islands, you deserve the same quality of education and the same quality of public services from your Government. As difficult as it may be and as much as it may cost, it is our responsibility to ensure that you have equity across the board.”
Representative for the Second District Honourable Melvin Turnbull said his district is thankful to the Minister for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports, Honourable Sharie de Castro and echoed his thanks to all the stakeholders and donors that contributed to the project. He emphasised what the new Jost Van Dyke Primary school means for the community.
Honourable Turnbull also thanked the students, parents and teachers for persevering through every challenge and difficulty. He said, “You have pushed through COVID-19, through the hurricanes, through the lockdowns, through the power outages, through not having water, to being here today. This is your school, and grade six you know how we do it. You will be the first class to graduate from your new school come June 2024.”
Owner and Managing Director of Quality Construction Mr. Roy Garraway said his company encountered some difficulties in delivering the project but that he is excited to see the students in their completed building.
Mr. Garraway, “Some say that success is guaranteed when preparedness meets opportunity, but there was some conditions which affected the project that were a result of external factors, but with God’s presence we persevered. You were one of my driving forces that kept me going. I was laser focused on the vision of seeing you young children of Jost Van Dyke being housed in a far better, more wholesome institute of learning than the one you previously occupied. ”
Staff and students also members of the Government of the Virgin Islands and the House of Assembly to cut the ribbon and declare the new school officially opened.
The completed facility has 13 general classrooms, a principal’s and guidance counselor’s office, a sick bay, library, music room, science and computer labs, staff room, bathrooms and lockers, kitchen, general office and meeting rooms, parking facilities, playground, a backup generator, wastewater treatment plant, landscaping and irrigation; a basement with two storerooms, and a male and female washroom.
The full video of the opening ceremony can be accessed on the Government’s Facebook page at BVIGovernment.