Education Minister Diallo Rabain under fire this morning amid a hard-hitting attack against plans to rename Somerset Primary by substituting the name of West End Primary School.

Hard on the heels of a report aired on the local television news at 7pm, West End Warriors (WEW) issued a statement last night, claiming the Minister has sunk to an all-time low.

In no uncertain terms, the group warned that it would be a grave error for the ruling Progressive Labour Party, to keep thinking that the West End Community will simply just rollover on this one.

Describing the Minister’s plan as a desperate quick-fix, the WEW stated outright that “Minister Rabain misjudges, and in no small way, belittles, the intelligence, sensitivities and integrity of the West End Community who have worked so very hard over the decades to ensure that their children received, and continue to receive in all of its relevant facets, the best educational experience they could or can under the circumstances”.

“Worse, Minister Rabain, in his intention to ‘rename’ SP as WEPS seeks, it would appear, to erase the great legacy and history of the WEPS by ‘insidiously grafting’ it upon a school and property that outright humiliated and rejected Black people from educating their children for decades from attending those ‘consecrated grounds’ reserved for Whites only”, the group added.

“Minister Rabain, it seems by his actions, further and zealously seeks to ‘sanitize’ or assign to the dustbins of oblivion, the odious, racist and exclusionary legacy and history of the SP by ‘renaming’ it with the name of the much exalted and respected WEPS. How demeaning, short-sighted and feckless is that ? How dare he ? What do our forebears think of that intention on his part, we ask? The ‘motives’ for Minister Rabain’s latest ploy and manoeuvre are not clear and bear close scrutiny, and certainly demand answers.”

And in no uncertain terms they warned – again, that Minister’s motives, whatever they are, “certainly demand answers”.

The Full Statement:

Given all of the excuses and pseudo-justifications the Minister of Education has given for closing the West End Primary School (WEPS) in preference for the continuation of Somerset Primary School (SP); it is unforgivable in the extreme that he would in November 7th’s BBC 7 TV News segment, insultingly announce that he would ‘rename’ SP by substituting the name WEPS. With the greatest of respect, the Minister has in facile and docile manner sunken to a new all-time low. He has bested himself in this regard.

It is apparent that Minister Rabain has run out of fundamentally superior and distinguishing comparators with which to support his choice of SP over WEPS and is now desperately resorting to “quick-fix, sleight of hand, band-aid, papering over the cracks” dubious solutions. In doing so, Minister Rabain misjudges, and in no small way, belittles, the intelligence, sensitivities and integrity of the West End Community who have worked so very hard over the decades to ensure that their children received, and continue to receive in all of its relevant facets, the best educational experience they could or can under the circumstances.

Worse, Minister Rabain, in his intention to ‘rename’ SP as WEPS seeks, it would appear, to erase the great legacy and history of the WEPS by ‘insidiously grafting’ it upon a school and property that outright humiliated and rejected Black people from educating their children for decades from attending those “consecrated grounds” reserved for Whites only. Minister Rabain, it seems by his actions, further and zealously seeks to ‘sanitize’ or assign to the dustbins of oblivion, the odious, racist and exclusionary legacy and history of the SP by ‘renaming’ it with the name of the much exalted and respected WEPS. How demeaning, short-sighted and feckless is that ? How dare he ? What do our forebears think of that intention on his part, we ask? The ‘motives’ for Minister Rabain’s latest ploy and manoeuvre are not clear and bear close scrutiny, and certainly demand answers.

Let us be clear, the WEW’s are singularly focused only on preserving the WEPS from being closed. We are not interested in playing “silly and puerile ‘name games’,“ or; other games with the Minister. However, when he makes such dangerous comments, such comments will not go unanswered.

In truth, we simply ask of him, and the public at large, to look at the following incontrovertible facts about the WEPS, and understand why we hold so strongly onto our position that the WEPS ought not to be closed, certainly not on the unsupportable ‘facts’ posited by Minister Robain and his team. We reiterate WEPS’s facts as follows:

·      West End is located where the children live therefore has the best geographic location.

·      No flood risk compared to Somerset Primary

·      Has more classrooms than Somerset Primary, therefore requires less construction.  In other words, people, less money out of your pockets to make the school ‘fit for purpose’.

·      Close to Sandys Secondary Middle School where the students will transition to ‘the next level’. (Or, perhaps Sandys is getting the axe as well?

·      Conveniently accessible for buses etc.

·      Safer Location.

·      Already the community hub.

·      Has educated the majority of Sandys residents…past and present.

·      The current location of West End Primary represents hallowed grounds unlike the history of the grounds of Somerset Primary

Signed: WEST END WARRIORS