Education Minister Myron Walwyn has labelled Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie as a dishonest politician who has used ‘school children’ to score political points.
“It’s unfortunate that after all these years Honourable Fahie still has a tenuous relationship with the truth,” the minister said.
Walwyn was responding to Fahie’s recent statement that he (Walwyn) broke the law by signing fake contracts to repair Leonora Delville Primary School.
Walwyn had signed a contract to repair the school in December and signed a similar contract two months later.
Fahie claimed Walwyn signed the first contract to repair to school though knowing government was broke.
Walwyn said Fahie’s statements are misleading.
He explained that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) provided loans for post-hurricane cleanup efforts. But, by the time the money was made available in December, his ministry had already cleaned up and reopened all schools.
As a result, the Education Ministry had to seek permission from the CDB to ‘repurpose’ the funds for repairs instead of cleanup, Walwyn said.
“We signed the first set of contracts in December in anticipation of the repurposing of the loan happening so that we could get the contractors moving by getting their workers together and applying for their certificates of good standing. And, of course, it was very difficult at that time to get contractors. So, we didn’t want it to get tied up in the private sector and when we needed them we couldn’t get them,” Walwyn explained.
He added: “By the end of December, the financial year rolled over and so we had to redo the contracts again with the very same contractors that we had engaged before. So it was never a case where money was an issue at all.”
Where’re the volunteers Fahie promised?
Walwyn then challenged the Opposition Leader on a claim that he (Fahie) had contractors or volunteers available to assist with repairs at the aforementioned primary school.
The Education Minister said he engaged Fahie to provide these volunteers but the Opposition Leader never did.
“I have made numerous requests to him (Fahie) asking about the people who had written to him. Where are the people you are talking about? Up to now he has not presented one person but now he wants to use an opportunity to gain cheap political points on the backs of the children,” Walwyn said.