JGHS $75M phase 1 project on target, says minister

| 04/03/2021 | 45 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly has said she is optimistic that phase one of the revamped John Gray High School project will finally be completed by August and ready to receive students at the start of the next school year. Given the controversial history of the school, where work began more than a decade ago, it is likely to go down in history as the Cayman Islands’ most expensive government project.

This current phase has been given a more than $75 million price tag but parts of the school hall that have already been finished and other more recent spending have to be added to the past wasted expenditure, as well as the second phase due to be completed next year and a third phase following that.

In the end the public purse will likely have shelled out well over $200 million on this project.

The problems surrounding the much needed school have been well documented and began with the fall-out of the 2008 global financial crash, which cut the funding. It continued on through significant problems with the general contractors, cash flow, the rivalry of former education minister Alden McLaughlin and his successor, Rolston Anglin. Change orders and design problems added to an already politicized project throughout the UDP 2009-2013 administration.

Then, during the first PPM-led coalition the project remained stalled until Tara Rivers, the education minister at the time, began work on the near CI$9 million gym. Since taking over the reins of education, O’Connor Connolly has rolled out the wider project after getting Cabinet’s sanction for the outline business case in 2018.

Donning hard hats, O’Connor-Connolly and a group of education officials recently toured the site for a progress report. “We are optimistic we will have this completed by August to begin the next school year,” she told CIGTV, adding that great progress was being made as the school was becoming “a fast reality”. (See full release about the tour here)

The minister also officially opened two new playing fields at Creek and Spot Bay Primary Schools on Cayman Brac at the weekend.

O’Connor-Connolly, who is also the minister for sports, said that “our school children now have access to a safe and beautiful playing field during school hours, and the community will be able to use the fields to improve their health and well-being outside of school hours”.

West End Primary on the Brac as well as the primary schools in West Bay, Savannah and North Side on Grand Cayman will soon have playing fields as part of the same project. (See full press release).

Cayman News Service
The two Sister Islands MPs, Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, have a kickoff on the new playing field at Creek Primary School

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Category: development, Education, Local News

Comments (45)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    OMG! on target for what exactly? It’s far overdue, grossly overbudget and phenomenally “overdone”. So it seems to me like it’s passed all relevant targets!!


  2. Shaking my head says:

    On my humble opinion, this is a waste of money, these children DO NOT need a fancy building. They need to be disciplined and tough through programs how to behave like humans. And also their parents.

  3. Anonymous says:

    iPad + Broadband.

    Everything else is a waste of capital

  4. Anonymous says:

    Another indoctrination center for Cayman’s youth.

  5. SSM345 says:

    Just imagine what the cruise piers would have cost us with this bunch of clowns leading the way……..

  6. Anonymous says:

    In other words Caymanians will continue to pay top dollar for a sub par edumacation till further notice. Just keep churning out those world class losers into the world of educated masses and continue to wonder why Caymanians are less then labor in their own island. P.S. It’s the culture.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone seen Cayman International School built by DART for a fraction of the cost?

    Government needs to get out of the education business.They have failed at this and their idea of a good education is building fancy buildings. Put education out to tender and let private entities bid on these schools and demand good results.

    Cayman International School is run by a company called ISS Schools, and they do a heck of a job and you never hear about any of those kids failing or fighting in school. Discipline, good curriculum and good teachers are hired and those are the main ingredients to produce good students and results.

    There are many private educational companies that would be happy to do this and $200M could go a long way to change the education results for our people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m very happy to read that Caymanian/voters are seeing the wide political picture of corruption. current and previous Government do not love THE CAYMAN Is. or the Caymanian people.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely mind boggling.

  10. Anonymous says:

    how does a school cost 75 million?. Especially with Jamaican labor!


    are the toilets guilded in gold?

    even 20 million is a staggering amount. Think about this for a second……200 million for a HIGH SCHOOL.

    the GAB did not cost that much??!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You should extremely ignorant. Labourers get paid monkey money. The real bulk of the money goes to the company holding the contract. Which company holds the contract? Most definitely NOT a jamaican company.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you factor in kickbacks disguised as $20,000 hammers than yours be surprised how quickly it adds up

  11. Anonymous says:

    We can thank Premier Alden for this mess. We have spent over 200 Million+ on school infrastructure while our children continue to fail. Pat yourself on the back for the continued failure of the future generation. Disguising

    • Anonymous says:

      At least the school will look nice once it’s done

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice doesn’t fix the uneducated children leaving these schools. Just like the rich kids born into mansions still can turn out to be cannibals.

  12. Anonymous says:

    yeah right….. just like the airpot was on target…(which btw is still not finihsed and we don’t have a final account)

  13. Anonymous says:

    New buildings aren’t going to solve the problems with Cayman education. But $200m could have, if it had been used appropriately.

    Must be an election coming up soon if Juju is moving around and talking.

  14. Incred Ulous says:

    From the photos it seems like a very grandiose design, why are 60ft high windows needed?, brings to mind Ju Ju’s magnificent arches at the new airport terminal. No wonder we are spending two hundred million dollars,when fantasy seems to have triumphed over functionality.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Which target is that….

    • Anonymous says:

      Target to spend as much money as possible with contractor friends before they lose control of the purse strings

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great leadership on the part of CIG!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians need to blames themselves, they keep their mouths shut about shady deals, then vote in the same people time after time and then complain time after time about who they voted for, sad .

  18. Conch Gut says:

    The Project was not even put out to Competitively Tender, PPM negotiated this with the same contractor who had $20m in overruns on the Airport Project. This represents a 50% increase over the bid price of $42m….So $75m is the minimum they with pay probably will be over $100m…The Airport Project was subject to recent PAC hearings which no one was held accountable for for wasting $20m tax payers dollars….Vote anyone else by PPM….If 50% overrun is the best Roy McTaggart can do GTE you would be better to give Dr Frank another chance….

    • Anonymous says:

      Huge overruns to be expected when CIG allows big wigs to demand changes once construction begins.

  19. Georgia says:

    Juju always seems to let off the clutch right before election time.

    I guess it’s because the elderly in watrin place don’t have such long memories anymore, bless them.

    No weed? No vote.

  20. Anonymous says:

    And the cost to run this school will be astronomical. How is going to be cooled? What 21 century innovations are being implemented in the school design?

  21. Anonymous says:

    We keep thinking that new buildings are the solution. I would recommend that we focus on early intervention and on holding uncaring parents responsible for the conduct and performance of their children.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, we don’t think new buildings are the solutions.

      How do you practically “… holding uncaring parents responsible for the conduct and performance of their children.” Please share your ideas.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fines? Community service? Probation? A week in jail?

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly! Parents need to charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor when they allow their child to be truant.

          Make it where every family has to do a certain amount of volunteering IN the school to qualify for no school fees. Sweat equity might help some of these disinterested parents value their school.

    • Anonymous says:

      5:18, if those in the Education department and ministry had a damn clue about education, we might see those critical issues being addressed. Until then, looks like new buildings is the M.O.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Good grief. Think of all the other things that might have been accomplished for the public good, with our own cash, had the PPM not stalled the project for a generation. We thought Clifton Hunter was expensive…

  23. Anonymous says:

    $$$..Buildings..$$$..Buildings..$$$..Buildings..ad infinitum!! Yet children are still being “dumped” out of school without being capable of meeting even basic job requirements!!

    ALL Candidates and Prospect voters, PLEASE listen to Michael Myles!! If he gets voted in he can help make a difference in these areas. If he doesn’t he is already making a difference and will continue.

    I’m from WB and have NO choices!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Michael Myles for EDUCATION. He has the best ideas and he is willing and ready to forge ahead with the needed education for our people. Those who are there now are clueless. Let the light shine bright on his path to a seat in Parliament.

  24. Cheese Face says:

    Lets just hope she is no longer a minister when it opens.

  25. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    $200 million. An obscene amount of money spent upon a high school. This had better be one special high school. Still, I’m glad if it FINALLY gets completed and occupied.

    I must be really really old. I remember when high school buildings were built for mere hundreds of thousands.

    There is something frightfully wrong with all this, and I suspect it has to do with insider agreements and construction companies and also sheer inefficient waste. We need MPs who treat the government coffers as they would their own money. Don’t misunderstand me….. I don’t want them to think of OUR dollars as theirs, I just want them to tread as carefully with OUR money as they do with their own.

    I fervently hope after the election, we will be honoured with a new political landscape — people who really care about sustainable development as measured against protecting the environment.

    I was tempted right there to promote the person who I believe will take us there, but no. That would take things off-topic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Beaumont – You’re absolutely correct! But not based on some of the early “alliances” I see!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Um, the same person that is Education Minister will easily get reelected. Not sure which district you vote in (that is if you can vote) but the competition in Cayman Brac East is just as laughable as Cayman Brac West/Little Cayman.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why the hell does a high school need a $9 million gym? Is the floor made of gold?. What a waste but of course the construction companies are laughing all the way to the bank. Are there any vocational training projects included. Probably not that would make too much sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      The gym is the least of the problems. Just follow the money on these projects. There is a reason that they always go over-budget.

  27. Same as it ever was says:

    On target until the final numbers are in, then it’ll most likely be $75M to $150M in the red.

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