Former minister says incident at Choiseul Secondary ‘unacceptable’

Former minister says incident at Choiseul Secondary ‘unacceptable’
Former Education Minister Arsene James.
Former Education Minister Arsene James.
Former Education Minister Arsene James.

Former Education Minister Arsene James has described as “unacceptable”, an incident where a student at Choiseul Secondary was shocked by a live wire.

James, who has repeatedly criticised the government for not investing enough in school repairs and maintenance, told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) on Thursday (Jan.7) that the incident may have been avoidable.

“We had a number of electricians assigned to various schools. Now I think they have one individual for all electrical works at all the schools on Saint Lucia,” he explained.

The United Workers Party (UWP) Member of Parliament (MP) reiterated that the government made the worst mistake to place the responsibility for maintenance of schools, with the Infrastructure Ministry.

“The Ministry of Infrastructure isn’t as sensitive to the needs of the schools, as was the Ministry of Education, because they have other works. I think what happens in the school takes second place,” he remarked.

James believes that the issue of repair and maintenance at schools are not dealt with in a timely manner as was done before. He also maintains that the Minister of Education is responsible for all schools, as stated in the Education Act.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer (CEO) of the Education Ministry, Marcus Edward, told SNO that he has received a written report from the school’s principal and is currently looking into the matter.

Edward said he was told that the student “accidentally” placed her hand on a broken switch, which caused her to get shocked. He said, the principal claims that he was unaware that the switch needed repair.

The CEO said while the responsibility for maintenance and repairs now lies with the Infrastructure Ministry, the engineers are usually called into to do inspections and repairs, by the school principal.

A fourth form student at Choiseul Secondary, Danzella Joseph, was reportedly shocked by a live wire on Wednesday, when she placed a hand on the wall, close to an old electric switch.

The school building is said to be structurally unsound and is due for repairs soon.


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  1. I like how Mr James is taking a stand on this, but I think it's merely all about politics, and being in the spotlight . I used to attend the MSS when he (Mr James) was principal. There was an outlet in the woodwork classroom that had no covering, and the wires were exposed. The boys used to go to that outlet everytime and make the wires touch to create sparks, which they were obviously fascinated about. Why then he ( Mr James), never looked into that matter. I mean the outlet was out in the open and clearly visible for anyone to see. Again I just want to say politicians, will do and say anything to make them look good in the public's eye. Thank you.


    • That man talk is all tosh. Why has he reduced education in Saint Lucia to the school building maintenance? One have expected him to have a more lasting legacy to talk about. But then again, everywhere in Saint Lucia our unambitious population has been further dumbed-down to wallow in self-pity and to be engrossed with the routine and the mundane.

      Maintenance of school buildings is important, but to have just that partial outlook is to display a shallowness, unbecoming of any education minister, whether that be past or present. Poor Saint Lucia, we are training for yet another crop of field workers and hotel low-paid workers.

      Soon, my grand children will have options to migrate and live in places other other than in this Great Island SLP-UWP Stupidiocracy.


  2. Kenny Anthony sitting in the big shot pockets in the north, going to private dinner at their homes, offering and creating jobs for them overseas especially certain musicians and bankers. The government should be sued for negligence on the part of them


  3. Just imagine the hospital refused her. The family had to pay a private doctor to get her checked. If $512000.00 was spent in schools electrical repair. The same could be paid to DANZELLA JOSEPH . Cause the money was spent and the schools were not electrically fixed. Sue that principal and ministry of infrastructure and ministry of education for the damages done to her. She could have lost her life.. government just sitting their asses and eating tax payers money. This child did pay her facilities fee. Other students did pay or most of or all did pay. So what is being done with the moneys. . Pay this child for the damage done due to such negligence. Kenny Anthony minister for finance address Danzella's matter urgently.


  4. This is A very disheartening incident hope this student is o.k.This should serve as A learning experience for all.School premises should be scrutinized on A daily basis and repairs done in A timely manner.Easier said than done but this was A very preventable incident.


  5. My mate is a political dinosaur no matter how you look at his work and try to get meaning from utterances. One has to ask what is it worth to Saint Lucia to have any education minister whose chief obligation is towards maintenance? But looking very closely, it is myopic limited thinking geared to just maintenance of the status quo? Boy, it tell you, this country is up the darn creek without a friggin' paddle,

    Before we had ice in fridges, it used to be ice from Duboulay's ice factory. For people like this we are still at that stage of freighting ice to our beach parties. He represents nothing at all that is new. Such complete joker believe in their hearts that an unprepared population is going to create a climate of job growth. Or that investors have any use for people who can barely read and write. This country has, for a long time since emancipation, been a happy-go-lucky idocracy.


    • BOTH the current minister and this historical relic of education nonsense should be given or should have been given ministerial portfolios of CARPENTRY and MAINTENANCE respectively. They no nothing else but to make noise to justify payments of salaries to these country bucks.

      Shooting non-education shate is obviously their strength and their forte. With non-progressive crap that drives their puny minds, we as a country can NEVER make developmental progress to reduce youth unemployment with such accepted but awkwardly and proudly-articulated backwardness.


  6. Although this may not be the case in point.,......guess who is usually responsible for destroying light switches in schools? Every term principals have to deal with a few malcontents who have nothing better to do than destroy not only light switches but desks, doors...yes doors, walls and other students ' property. Yes we know that there isn't as much spent on education but there is also the problem of school fees....either parents cannot afford or just choose not to make fees a priority, and that money is important for minor repairs of schools. We...society...need to teach some children to respect property as well, but that is a whole story by itself.


  7. My God, my God, you mean St. Lucia have not changed after all these years?
    The comments above have shaken me up. People, this is 2016, not 1916.
    I have heard of the incompetence of the present Minister, but sorry to say
    he has to go. Why so much is spent on beautiful Highways to Gros Islet
    and the Schools, Hospitals and Court Houses are left to rotten? SOME WRONG.
    Where does the Buck stop???


    • Bermuda has smaller roads and has a reduced speed limit to manage the carnage and damage on our roads. We do not need bigger parking lots like the big election project the SLP had in mind to fool this largely unthinking public. They just restrict the size of cars to fit the smaller roadway.

      Whilst maintenance is critical, this man like the current Minister of Education are just full of it. They are hell-bent on just building and maintaining a lot of school pens. These are just buildings. There is no concern for what the students learn.

      Both myopic retards are just content on creating slaves for the tourism sector. Neither has a vision of a better future other than just that. How pathetic the repeated convoys of jokers that are just capable of making noise in Castries and in the press as their contribution to the future of Saint Lucia.

      Some will survive and rise above our clueless self-serving government ministers. Poor Saint Lucia! This country is condemned to be led by complete idiots in and out of government. This my friends is the whole unvarnished and unembroided truth.


  8. Poor excuse mr silas wilson. This school need to be repair. Our education system suck. This is where I did my secondary school education n am proud of this school. But when the system is failing our student we need to come out. All parents, pass n present students should come out n protect for a better eeducation.


  9. even it is only 1 individual carry who out electrical inspections at schools it should be possible by aprox.240 working days per year to have all schools inspected yearly.
    or do we have more then 240 schools on island??


  10. In response to the statement by Mr james "now I think they have one individual for all electrical works at the schools on st. Lucia". The records of the ministry show that between April and December 2015, over $512,000.00 was spent on electrical works on schools. A total of 15 licensed contractors were employed.

    We syspathise with the student. We wish to state that an investigation is being carried out and the results will be shared with the public.


    • from april to dec spending an average per month of 56 888.- EC on electrical repair ??
      ...somebody had a nice christmas.


    • Silas get it right. It's Sympathize ok. The guy from infrastructure is very uncouth. He came to our school and started saying he should just cut our extension cords because they were not good. He doesn't know how hard we had to work to get money to buy these cords. He never made recommendations as to what we should have. Yes you may have hired 15 contractors to do basic stuff before school opens, but the question is how many people are there full time to service the needs of the schools. Please answer.


      • Better days are with us. The PM cannot walk and chew chewing gum at the same time. All he can do is to offer SLP red Kool aid of useless "optimism". Only en rouge fools have no capacity to perceive anything else but to blissfully repeat what the speakers themselves do not comprehend. SLP keeps on exploiting that. SLP has more better days on the way.


  11. "the engineers are usually called into to do inspections and repairs, by the school principal"....I believe that there should be a set period/cycle for inspections which would lead to a safer school environment for all. Can a principal actually determine every single type of electrical repair work needed? Can the principal actually have enough time to go all over a school compound checking for electrical or structural faults? Common, we all know how pressed for time school principals are these days with so many issues to deal with, and to drop that responsibility solely on their shoulders is I think a perfect way to set up a scapegoat when shit hits the fan. Periodic inspections of electrical and structural components should be done by qualified engineers. Let's get serious in this country and stop making sorry excuses for our continued failures. In my opinion the principal of the Choiseul secondary school has just been thrown under the bus by the CEO's statement.


  12. St.Lucia needs to stop operating as a reactive society. More cost are incurred when you are always fixing.
    Where are all the consultants? Time to advise government to adopt preventative measures.
    I am asking because I don't know.
    Does the ministry carry out routine checks on the schools or do they have to wait for the school principals to notify them, or do they only come to the scene AFTER something is broken or needs to be remedied?
    What if the child had died? Who knows what other hazards might be lying around. School principals, teachers and children might not have the knowledge to spot certain things.
    While this might be an isolated incident, I am hoping that if regular checks on infrastructure for example is not currently being carried out routinely, I hope something is put in place, particularly if data or information in relation to these types of mishaps which could potentially engender the lives of children and staff alike is available.


  13. the school is nt good at all .the staires are shaking ,the staff toilets are in a mess,the kitchen is in a mess ,there are flies more than sand by a beach


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