Government agrees to juggle cash for North Side school

| 17/06/2015 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service

Edna Moyle Primary School renaming ceremony

(CNS): The government has committed to finding some $300,000 for additional classrooms and a staff room at the Edna Moyle Primary School in North Side after desperate pleadings from the district’s MLA, Ezzard Miller. In Finance Committee Wednesday Miller received support from the opposition and government benches following his bid for cash during proceedings on Friday, when the education ministry’s budget was under scrutiny. 

Miller had been told that the money was not in this year’s budget because of limited resources. However, when the committee resumed this morning, the independent member asked for the committee’s approval for the school’s PTA to try and raise the money itself and have access to the existing plans that have been commissioned by the Public Works Department and given planning permission.

During the discussion that followed, PPM backbencher Anthony Eden urged his government colleagues to find the money for the much needed school project, which Miller has been pleading for since before he was elected as the district representative in 2009. Eden said government had to prioritise the needs of children islandwide and pointed to a lack of investment in the eastern district schools. The opposition leader also questioned how government could have a surplus of more than $100 million and have a prison budget of more than $17 million but could not find $300,000 for a school in desperate need.

In the absence of the premier, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell told the committee that government would try to find the money. He revealed that each ministry would try to find further cuts to raise the cash without altering the overall budget figures.

It has been almost 20 years since any capital works have taken place at the school in North Side, which is the only one on Grand Cayman without a staff room and where children are having lessons in a corridor as a result of the space shortage.

Kirkconnell pointed to constraints in the budget but he said the North Side member’s request had found sympathy. He said the current administration believed that education was “extremely important” and ministers were being tasked to make further cuts so they could find the money and move quickly on the project. Education Minister Tara Rivers expressed her thanks for the support, as she said she had wanted to see the project funded but had been constrained by other priorities.

Miller said he was happy to give up any capital projects in North Side for this budget year, including roads, as he said the school’s needs were more important and he believed his constituents would understand. But he urged government to move quickly so that work could start during the summer break to avoid disruption in term time. He was given a commitment by Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts that everything would be done to get things underway with public works as soon as possible.

East End MLA Arden McLean, who has also been asking for resources for his district primary school as it does not have a generator, queried why it was that requests made to Cabinet for his constituency and his neighbour in North Side were ignored when it came to the budget allocation. “Even though we go to Cabinet and beg for this money it’s not made available,” he complained.

McLean said government was always talking about the need to prioritize education but when it came to it, it did not. He pointed to the slow progress on the John Gray High School project, as well as the numerous issues revealed during questions about the education budget that were impacted by a lack of resources.

“We need to stop paying lip-service to education,” he said, after most members had raised concerns about a lack of funding in many areas relating to education during the Finance Committee hearings.

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Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When will the government address its obligations to make free education available for all children not only Caymanian ones? That is a breach of the established human rights of the non-Caymanian children.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think they should build a nice Primary school near the C.H.H.S. Frank Sound combine North side few lil children and East End fewer lil children and then it could deal with the over flow of Bodden Town…Thats my story and I’m sticking too it….

  3. Anonymous says:

    There should not be a North Side school. It should be amalgamated with
    East End. It is such a waste to have schools for so few students. Politics always gets in the way of the right decision!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This government only talks about education being a priority. Their actions is contradictory to what comes out of their mouths. What everyone is realizing finally, is that this government is like the government’s of the 70 ‘ s and 80’s. ….vindictive and self serving.

    The y don’t give a rats ass about the social issues, only their cronies and friends.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just like the last government of Bush then. I beg to differ though on education. They do care and are trying to do something and change is happening despite Tara Rivers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Government also needs to look at the schools accommodating more students or else build more schools. I just tried to register my child and was told no vacancies in my catchment area or the next two nearest areas.

  5. The Country With No Plan says:

    The Deputy Premier could have easily taken some from Cayman Brac vote and fixed North Side school. Cayman Brac receives an inordinate and unfair amount of our Budget and contribute very little to the Cayman Islands. BTW- that does not mean I don’t like Cayman Brac or Cayman Bracers – let’s be fair when allocating funds to an island of 1,500 to 2,000 people as compared to an Island of 55,000 people. And it’s the Island of 55,000 people money you are allocating as Cayman Brac contributes very little to the budget.

  6. People For An Ezzard Free L.A. says:

    Hush money.

  7. WaYaSay says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Ezzard, for persevering, even though you were rebuffed by successive Governments for 6 years. That willingness of the North Side people and PTA to do it themselves, if Government refused to act, Speaks volumes and should be a shining example to ALL the people of the Cayman Islands

    Thank you Anthony and thank you Arden for the support necessary to shame the present Government into supporting this worthy initiative.

    And finally, thank you PPM for agreeing but please do not take ALL of the funds for this from the scant amount you had allocated to North Side, some yes, but please not all of it just because you may not like Ezzard. Now do the right thing and give Arden the generator he needs for the East End school. Please do not rob the existing education budget to buy a generator, take it out of the $100 million surplus, or the money you want to waste on the cruise ship dock, you will not even notice it.

    I know one thing for sure, the late Hon. Mrs. Edna Moyle, whose name the school bears, is looking down from heaven today with a huge smile on her face.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmm wasn’t Education one of the big electioneering talking points. Well I guess that’s what they say to get elected ey.

  8. Anonymous says:

    More money for the East! What about West Bay and George Town 11-16 year olds. Needs aren’t met there either!

  9. Sim G aka Sho G says:

    What about UCCI why isn’t enhancing its programs and injecting funds into the College a matter of priority. Why are programs being cut or put on hold like the AS in Legal Studies when the Law School doesn’t offer night classes for persons to study law and fill the high demand for legal professionals. All these politicians are a joke and a waste of funds themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lets make this clear, the MLA is like a run away welfare state that responds to the incentive of votes.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hilarious! Pandering to Ezzard. Meanwhile the world looks on as we ban free speech while at the same time saying how much we support it. Only in Cayman!.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If the MLAs were doing their jobs they would have looked at the budget and identified what they would cut to find the money. Instead they have turfed it and expect other to find money somewhere without cutting anything.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are being unkind.The MLA were busy ignoring the missing billions and calling in the COP over a minor issue to do so.

  12. The says:

    I sincerely hope that the future of The Caymans is not thrown away by inaction on this important issue. Let us hope funds become available quickly.

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