KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The debate about secondary education on Canouan continued on Sunday with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves announcing his government’s latest proposal: a speedboat to transport students to Union Island.
Gonsalves acknowledged at the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) 18th convention that the party promised in is 2010 election manifesto to build a secondary school on Canouan.
“More properly, we should have said we would provide secondary education for all the students in Canouan or make it easier – because it is available to everybody,” he said.
Gonsalves restated his previous arguments that a secondary school in Canouan could have 50 students in all five forms and that the quality of secondary education accessed on there could be substandard.
“There is another way we can do it. And what is being suggested is that the developers would buy a speedboat. Not just an ordinary speed boat, but one that is comfortable, properly covered — something which is valued in the region of US$400,000,” Gonsalves said.
The speedboat, which will cost US$10,000 a month to operate, will take 30 minutes to go transport Canouan high school students to Union Island, where a new secondary school was officially opened last year.
“… but we would also build in Canouan a well-equipped computer centre and library as supplementary to the studies for the students who are going down to Union Island,” he further stated.
“Now that is the proposal on the table. We’ve got to work out the details,” said Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance.
“Now, if they tell me they don’t want that, I would say, ‘Well, you want to do something that is not within your interest because if you build a school for 50 students you are going to have a substandard secondary school’,” he said.
Gonsalves further said that the high school in Union Island “is developing well in terms of their results. We have a lot of facilities down there and everything is on the up in Union Island Secondary School.
He told ULP members and supporters said that since coming to office in 2001, his government has spent more money in Canouan than any other part of this multi-island nation.