THE EDITOR: Media reports quote the Prime Minister as saying that it will cost 13 million dollars to repair the Castries Comprehensive School (CCSS). This is a lot of money and, if true, shows how poorly governments have maintained the property over the past 44 years.
If proper maintenance had been carried out, current repairs would have been minimal. The lack of proper maintenance is a serious reflection on governments’ inability to look after public buildings. It also shows a lack of respect for Canada, who gifted the school to St. Lucia.
Many of our schools, offices, housing and court buildings have obvious signs of poor maintenance or no maintenance, such as plants growing in eaves gutters, rainwater pipes disconnected or broken, corrosion of structural steel frames, corrosion of steel reinforcement causing cracking of concrete and roof leaks left for years without repair.
Also, poor detailing of buildings, poor paint quality and water leaks give rise to mould and algae, disfiguring the buildings.
Our governments are failing us by allowing our buildings to deteriorate; their priorities are wrong. Instead of borrowing about 40 million dollars to build a Financial Centre at Pointe Seraphine, money should have been spent maintaining existing public buildings.
This would have provided employment in St.Lucia rather than overseas; the great bulk of the money spent on the new building must have gone overseas to pay for all the imported materials.
We now have another large building to maintain, complete with steel fire escapes; hopefully, they will be maintained better than the existing ones in the Castries waterfront buildings.
Going back to the estimated cost of repairs to the CCSS, was the estimate prepared by a technical person or by a political person?
I doubt that repairs could cost 13 million dollars; the major costs would be replacing roof waterproofing and repairing concrete.
We are not a wealthy country, so we have to be very careful how we spend our money.
If we demolish the CCSS, then we will be destroying an asset and it will cost a lot of money (that we do not have) to build a new school.
We should retain the CCSS and carry out proper repairs without delay. (Kewess)