Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP) D.Gisele Isaac is
scoffing at yet another promise by a foreign government – the
Dominican Republic – to construct a school on Barbuda.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently held bilateral discussions
with Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader about deepening
the cooperation between both countries, given their strong
historical and economic ties.
Reportedly, during their talks, President Abinader reiterated to
Prime Minister Browne that his government will move swiftly to
allocate funds for the construction of a school in Barbuda.
Over five years ago – after Hurricane Irma had devastated Barbuda
in September 2017 – it was reported that the Government of the
Dominican Republic had agreed to build a new school on the sister-
island to replace the damaged Holy Trinity School.
However, Isaac says the only primary school operational on
Barbuda is the same one – which the Council had been forced to
repair after the Government dragged its feet on a new facility.
Accordingly, she says she does not put much faith in this project
getting off the ground, since, allegedly, monies were spent already
on preliminary work and no school was constructed.
The UPP chairman believes the meeting between the two heads was
just another talk shop, which will not produce any results.
During the Category 5+ Hurricane Irma, a number of buildings at
Holy Trinity were destroyed.
Two government officials, an architect and engineer from the
Dominican Republic, had suggested constructing a new primary
school at a different location on Barbuda – not as close to the lagoon,
since flooding would likely occur during hurricanes and storms.
As a result, a new site – 15 feet above sea level and very close to the
Sir McChesney George School – was selected.
It was noted, then, that construction would last for four months, and
the new school was scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2018.
At that time, the Browne Administration also said that the school to
be built by the donor government would double as a hurricane
shelter, accommodating as many as 600 people.
Allegedly, the Dominican Republic had spent US$1.5 million on
drawings, soil testing, purchasing of building supplies, and readying
the materials for shipment to Barbuda.
Reportedly, consultations had already been undertaken with the
Barbuda Council, and a town hall meeting had been held with the
After the Council saw that it was taking too long for construction to
take place, and the primary school children remained displaced, it
undertook the repair of the Holy Trinity School, which was
completed and opened in January 2020.
The Browne Administration had made strong objections to the
Council effecting repairs on the school.