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Friday, October 7, 2022


An editorial in the Daily News May 17 accusing the Education Department of vitimizing students at Addelita Cancyrn is "blatantly erroneous" acting Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds said Tuesday.
The editorial started out saying, "Students at the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School on St. Thomas have been the victims of mismanagement and lack of planning by both the Education Department and the Water and Power Authority."
Teachers at Cancyrn staged a sit-in last Thursday to protest the conditions at the school exacerbated by lack of water from the potable water system. There were reports of students urinating in hallways because only two bathrooms were available for more than 1,200 students and staff.
The Daily News editorial said that the problem "had been bad before, but it is unbearable now. Apparently someone neglected his duties on this one."
Simmonds said, "Immediately upon learning of the problems caused by power outages and lack of water at the campus, the department responded first by shortening class schedules in order to minimize the temporary discomfort and inconvenience experienced by students."
Last week Roi Simmonds, spokesperson for the protesting teachers, said that the lack of water due to the Water and Power Authority's problems with its desalination units only "exacerbated" the already abysmal conditions at the school.
Commissioner Simmonds said she has convened a seven-member Territorial Water Review Task Force whose "sole purpose is to ensure that this and any other kind of water dilemma is resolved rapidly." The task force is charged with assessing the water situation at all the territory's schools, providing an overview and preparing an action plan.
The commissioner said drinking water was provided during the crisis by the private sector and thanked Paradise Bottling, Sunny Mountain Water, J'ouvert and Tropic Rain for their assistance.

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