Schools across the Nation will return to full-time classroom instruction today, and teachers say they hope the National School Meals programme will “get its kitchen together.”
Over the last few weeks, teachers and other staff have submitted photos of the meals served, reporting to REAL News that, too often, more of the food is dumped, than is eaten, by the students.
“The menu alternates between rice and macaroni or spaghetti; a few scraps of lettuce and carrots; and chicken, chicken, chicken,” a teacher said last week, adding, “I wonder why.”
Two strategically placed Ministers of Government are alleged to be the owners of a poultry farm, and that is believed to be the main reason why chicken is served so often.
A local egg producer asserts that the Ministers have, indeed, “moved in on the local market.” As a result, he claims that even the Barbuda market has been adversely affected, with standing contracts being canceled in favour of the Cabinet Members’ enterprise.
Meanwhile, from the photos submitted, it appears that crop farmers have also been shut out of the School Meals kitchen, and teachers confirm that vegetables are hardly ever served.
An educator tells REAL News that a server at her school proffered an apology one Friday – when a chicken wing and a bread roll were served – admitting that she was embarrassed but could do nothing about it.
When the programme was introduced under the Baldwin Spencer Administration, it provided primary-school students with a hot, nutritious lunch for $1, with the tag line “Nutrition for Learning.”
However, upon taking office in 2014, the Browne Administration first eliminated drinking water from the programme, then announced that it would be free of cost.
Since then, a school administrator says, “it’s been a downward slide to dog food and hog-washin.’”
Teachers say they believe that supermarkets and farmers are owed for supplies, and that is why the menu has been restricted to the two starches and poultry.