The following Op-Ed was released today (May 15), for publication by One Bermuda Alliance candidate Thomas Harvey…

It is with great interest that I have taken in as much information as I can in relation to the
Minister of Education’s plans for the future of educating our children in this island. I must admit that I find myself somewhat dismayed at a policy which lacks clarity as to the effects that it will have on the children involved.   

What is particularly alarming to me is the lack of representation by the four area MPs for the St George Parish. Where are the persons that were elected to represent the constituents of St George North, West, South and St David’s? The Minister is about to destroy education in its fullness for the East End of the island and there is no voice raising the concerns of the constituents from among the elected officials. 

The Minister plans to close Clearwater Middle school as well as the three primary schools, St David’s Primary, St George Preparatory and East End Primary. What are parents living in the east end who don’t have great resources to overcome this hurdle supposed to do? Why is it necessary to close all three primary schools in order to renovate one? Would not it be more prudent to close the one you were going to renovate; renovate it and get it ready for occupation; and then when the job is done, close the other schools and open the newly renovated school? It would seem that very little consideration has been given to the interruption that will be caused by these closures. No sound reasoning would seem to be in place for carrying out these changes in this way.

OBA candidate Glenn Tucker recently wrote a very thought-provoking article on the closure of these schools and I would like to echo his concerns. He talked of the needs of those with learning difficulties and neurodiverse. Has consideration been given to the impact these changes will have on these most vulnerable individuals? The arrogance of the Minister to steer clear of the public forums held on this issue speaks volumes to the attitude of this present Government. By his own admission in Parliament, he only attended a mere four of 40 stakeholder meetings.  

Was it not a Government Minister who made the statement: “We don’t want your vote” or words to that effect? What do these actions demonstrate to the public? Obviously not a Government that is concerned about the issues of the constituents!

Once again, let me state my concern of the lack of representation by the PLP MPs elected to represent the East End of the island. There would appear to be no concern for the effect that the proposed moves will have on both child and parent. What is even more troubling is the lack of concern by this present Government of the impact that it is having on the voters/constituents who are affected by these proposals. It is obvious that Bermuda needs to move to a Government that will be more concerned with the wishes of those that elect them. I truly hope that this present Government will see the folly of its ways and change course. 

Thomas Harvey is the adopted OBA candidate for Constituency 2, St George’s West.