Union recommends health inspectors to investigate schools

POSTED: 09/17/13 2:25 PM

St. Maarten -Based on complaints and teachers of the St. Maarten Academy PSVE campus, president of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot has recommended that the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development investigated the claims of unhygienic and deplorable conditions at the school.

On September 4, a letter written by a concerned parent and headlined Disasters at St. Maarten Academy PSVE was published in the media.

At the time of her comments, Elshot said that she was yet to visit the school to gain insight into what the situation really is on the ground but assured would check into it.

“I have gotten complaints from teachers at PSVE. It is not at PSVE School alone that those complaints came forward. We also had other schools that based on the materials that the schools were built from, this time of year, the classrooms are very hot.  I believe that if that came in the newspaper, then we have competent authorizes to check into these matters especially in the area of occupational health and safety,” Elshot said.

Elshot urged that public health inspectors investigate the claims of concerned parents.

“At PSVE, a couple of years ago, the stench was very hot in specific classrooms. There is a school board there that is responsible for its daily running and they also have somebody there that takes care of that. If the parents exposed certain things, they should make a report so that we can get a clear understanding whether this is indeed a health hazard and what kind of corrective measures can be done.”

The union leader reasoned that if the situation at PSVE is a health hazard then action should be taken immediately to mitigate this, if contractors are to blame, then projects should be properly finalized.

“Probably the school board will need some assistance on having advice on corrective measures because you can imagine in St. Maarten you also have contractors and they are the ones who do the jobs. So they should have made sure that everything is completed in timely manner and a responsible fashion for the opening of the school year. At certain schools they were building, we got complaints that that type of stuff (building materials-ed.) was provoking asthma in the teachers and students. Then we noticed that at those schools measures were taken and now you have the school and new parts being operational with everybody being happy.”


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