School project spending blurred in budget

| 29/10/2020 | 37 Comments
Photo from @JohnGrayHighSchool

(CNS): The total cost of the new John Gray High School development is forecast to be over CI$106 million, education ministry officials confirmed Wednesday during Finance Committee. But as the ministry sought the support of the committee for an additional $20 million to spend next year, the budgeting for the costly project became blurred when Deputy Chief Officer Wilbur Welcome claimed it was not an overrun.

He said the money was needed because not enough had been earmarked for the current phase in 2021, but it would not push up the overall price tag.

The budgeting for this major project is becoming increasingly blurred as government is allotting certain amounts each year to cover phases of the project, which will include the new JGHS campus and the redevelopment of the old George Hicks site.

As well as the phased approach to funding the public project, the move to two-year budgets is adding to the confusion over what has been spent and what will be spent, as ministries are able to move money back and forth during the 24-month period.

The overall cost for the two phases, which will be completed in August 2021 and August 2022, is expected to be around CI$106.2 million, with Phase 1 (the JGHS campus) priced at $76.3 milion.

Opposition Leader Arden McLean noted that the school will ultimately cost the country around $200 million in an oblique reference to the project’s long and checkered history.

“That gonna be tied round somebody neck inside here,” McLean stated. “This school started a long time ago… This needs to be the millstone around somebody’s neck,” he added, referring to the premier, who was education minister when the redevelopment of John Gray as well as the development of Clifton Hunter and a proposed high school in West Bay were first planned.

McLean was a member of the 2005-09 Cabinet that approved the projects, which, in the wake of the financial crash, began spiralling out of control after government became involved in a dispute with the developers.

When the UDP administration took over the project, Rolston Anglin, who replaced Alden McLaughlin as education minister, made a number of changes to the school projects and continued wrangling with the developers, who eventually walked off the JGHS site. That project was then left to languish until it was recently restarted under the current administration.

See the committee hearing on CIGTV below, set to start at the relevant segment.

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Category: Education, Government Finance, Local News, Politics

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Will there be an independent audit of the project so we can see where all the money went??

  2. anon says:

    What’s the overrun on Deputy Chief Officers?.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why the hell does a high school cost this much? Something don’t smell right to me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a good one…What do you get if you cross a CI Government, CI$200 million and a derelict building site? Nothing!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This can’t continue. Taxpayers can’t be expected to continue to finance failing schools, children and parents. Parents need to pay whatever fees are needed to provided their children with an education.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The schools disaster = Alden’s Folly.

  7. Biden 2019 for Senate says:

    I did not take the $20 million dollars meant for the school. I do not know if the person beside me is my wife or my sister. We cannot afford four more years of George – I mean, Alden. Vote China Joe. Biden for Senate, 2019.

  8. Big Pappa says:

    You can lead an ox to water, but you can’t make it drink. Bring the best of the best, still won’t ensure anything. Most of it comes down to the parents and the child.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So one thing I know for sure….this country is Not broke!

    Looks like we got money!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Building a new school won’t improve the quality of the actual education. Fix that first.

    • Anonymous says:

      That starts with replacing the Minister of Education and her crew of incompetent lackeys in the Ministry.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I would guess that the best school teachers in the world earn about US$100k a year. For the amount spent on these buildings we could have gone to the 50 best teachers alive and offered to double their salary if they move to Cayman and teach here, and we could have paid those 50 teachers $200k a year each for 24 years. Kids here start school at 6 and finish at 18= 12 years. So for this money we could have had two generations complete their entire primary and secondary education at a world-class standard, ready to go on and lead the country or its businesses, plus our own educators would have inherited those world-class teaching skills to continue with. That would have been truly transformational. Instead those fancy new buildings will be used to generate the next batch of illiterate wanna-be gangstas and baby mommas.

    • Anonymous says:

      except those teachers would only be half as effective with one hand tied behind their back by the parents and ministry.

      • Anonymous says:

        10.10 This in absolute spades!!! Dimwit parents who think their little angels can do no wrong and brain dead preachers who think the world is only 10,000 years old. I’ll give you a clue; it isn’t. There really were dinsosaurs. Darwin got it pretty much right.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is the same government that told us to manage our money well when they allowed us to withdraw our pension…..but zero reductions 7 months late on them spending OUR money…just secure a 400K loan instead. Great leaders setting fantastic examples…SMFHWTF

  13. Anonymous says:

    Alden’s legacy of failure has cost this country over $250,000,000.00 in monuments to his ego.
    Thank the lord CPR fought them in the courts and stopped the cruise dock last year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Add him to the long list. I think Bush still has him beat in the lost money race. He also almost had the Chinese building the pier and building a mini China in North Sound.

    • Anonymous says:

      How many of us are going to fight to keep him out in 2021? The demon of Cayman must go.

    • Anonymous says:

      Monuments to the banks accounts of him, his cronies and the people who will look after him once he leaves politics.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Juju is almost as bad as her failed leader Alden who started this entire train wreck

  15. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  16. Anonymous says:

    Another PPM led disaster brought to you by Alden & McKeeva’s UNITY gowermint. The time has come to vote them all out!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Legalize growing weed so we can start up another revenue generating industry instead of giving Doctor’s Express the legal monopoly on it and we’ll find the money for it.

    Colorado has generated millions in revenue through their cannabis tourism (that I contributed to) that has built schools.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A quarter of a billion USD……will be worth it if some of the kids are literate when they leave. Not holding my breath though

  19. Anonymous says:

    JGHS was a remnant from Tom Jones; if you don’t build then our future kids suffer and this in turn means Cayman; not saying that money should be thrown away but hire competent people to advise on Projects.. there is an underlying trend on the government projects. Over runs are not isolated to Cayman but most public sector. Why should $100k+ be spent on sending kids overseas to study when this same money can be invested here?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Lots of kickbacks

  21. Anonymous says:

    cig budgets are a rats nest of deceit and incompetence

  22. anon says:

    All this reminds me of TravelTime.

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