Area Representative and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Honorable Manuel Heredia is continuing his efforts to have a government school built on the island. Heredia announced in February 2015 that land and monies had been allocated for the construction of a government primary school. While he aimed to have the school inaugurated for the 2015/2016 school year, delays in the land acquisition have made that impossible. The goal is now set to have the school opened by the 2016/2017 school year before his third term in office expires.
In an interview with The San Pedro Sun, Heredia shed some light on the status of the construction of the government primary school which he announced on February 16, 2015. “From last year I have been lobbying for a government primary school to be built in San Pedro. The need is evident. The population is growing and there isn’t enough space for all the children in our schools. Cabinet has indicated to the Ministry of Education that the priority for a new school construction is on San Pedro. There are various school developments planned for across the country and if one has to be eliminated to accommodate the construction of a school in San Pedro then that’s what will have to be done,” said Heredia.
Heredia indicated that he has identified land for the school and has passed it on to the Government of Belize (GOB) for acquisition. “We are looking at the area on Blake Street in the entrance of the San Pablo Area. We submitted the land information to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Education, but are still awaiting a response if the property is suitable for the project,” said Heredia.
Once the land is acquired, construction on the buildings should not take too long, since the plan is to use pre-fabricated units. “Our only problem is acquiring the land. Once we have it the school would be up and running in no time. Plans are to use pre-fabricated buildings made in the Mennonite communities. We would just bring them over from the mainland and set them up on site. As time progressed additional buildings can be added and the school campus can be further developed. Our immediate goal is to make space available for the children to go to school. We don’t want to give parents any excuse to not send their children to school,” said Heredia. GOB has allocated $1 million for the government primary school in San Pedro.
Currently, San Pedro has six primary schools, three of which are private, and three are religious grant-aided schools.
On another note, Heredia also indicated that plans are ongoing for the construction of a community hospital on the island. He mention that with the addition of the 24 hour service at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, the hospital is not an immediate need. “With the hospital, we still need to acquire land and funds for the project. What we are doing right now to achieve immediate improvement health care in the island is adding more resources to the polyclinic. The hospital is something that will probably won’t be addressed until after general elections,” said Heredia.
San Pedro Sun