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Thwaites shamed by Calabar rat infestation

Luke Douglas

Friday, March 09, 2012    

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EDUCATION Minister Reverend Ronald Thwaites has called on all stakeholders to take responsibility for the sanitation of their schools in light of the closure of Calabar High School because of a rat infestation last week.

He said his ministry has sent out bulletins reminding schools of the need to adhere to public health standards and the steps they should take when problems similar to that at Calabar occur. He said he would be meeting with education officers today to emphasise their role to ensuring that schools are kept clean.

"I was embarrassed," Rev Thwaites said of the three-day closure of the St Andrew-based all-male secondary institution which celebrates 100 years of existence this year.

"Everybody has to take their share of responsibility. The ministry, the education officers, the building officers need to be more vigilant in their scrutiny, the Ministry of Health needs to help to us ensure the public health standards are maintained in every educational institution. The school authorities can't wait until the situation is acute before they deal with it."

The minister is not absolving the students of responsibility to take care of their school premises.

"The students have to understand that it is not the maid or the porter or the gardener's responsibility to keep their learning environment clean," Rev Thwaites said.

He was speaking to journalists shortly after addressing a Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.

Earlier this week, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott disclosed that he had put together a multi-agency team, including representatives from Ministry of Health, the National Solid Waste Management Authority and Local Government to take a comprehensive look at the problem of garbage collection.

He said a public education programme on sanitation would be developed by the end of the month.

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