Government releases report on latest study on BHS

The latest report is from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). The Ministry said the report which encapsulates all previous reports, concludes that they can find no “causal link” between the reported medical symptoms of some teachers and pupils and the school building or neighbouring environment.

The government said the report states that “Based on the findings from the variety of sources used, it remains difficult to identify a single cause for the health symptoms experienced by students and staff at the school.”

“This Government believes in continuous dialogue with all stakeholders including the general public, hence the publication of all reports and recommendations by the various agencies.  The reports have highlighted a number of preventative maintenance and housekeeping actions that would serve to improve the school environment. The health, safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff remain our priority and this Government will continue work with the school management in addressing all recommendations. We look forward to CARPHA’s review findings which will be completed in August.”

Commenting on the issue, the country’s minister of Education, Nigel Carty, said as a Government, they are committed to transparency and accountability.  “That is why we are pleased to be able to update you with the findings of CARPHA.   These and other reports are available on our website and have been delivered to all key stakeholders so they too are kept informed,” added the minister.

Carty said they acted promptly and instructed the Chief Medical Officer, and CARPHA to investigate the concerns of some pupils and teachers into health and environmental issues at the school. This followed on from previous expert reviews in 2013, he explained.

 “We have fully accepted the recommendations of CARPHA and we are committed to ensuring all remedial actions are implemented. We invite CARPHA back to BHS to inspect the standards of completion before the students and teachers arrive back to school in September,” stated the minister. 

Also sharing her thoughts on the matter, Minister of Health, Marcella Liburd indicated that Government believes in continuous dialogue with all stakeholders including the general public, hence the publication of all reports and recommendations by the various agencies. 

The reports have highlighted a number of preventative maintenance and housekeeping actions that would serve to improve the school environment. “The health, safety and well- being of pupils and staff remains our priority and this Government will continue work with the school management in addressing all recommendations. We look forward to CARPHA’s review findings which will be completed in August,” stated Liburd.

Over the past two years however, the issue has attracted national and regional attention and the latest episode seems to be indicating that the government has decided to remove the current principal of the BHS, Carlene Henry-Morton, over the stance she took a few months ago not to participate in a meeting called by the Ministry of Education to discuss the introduction of a shift system, with a nearby high school, given that the BHS was forced to close its own campuses because of the health risks.

A number of students and teachers have suffered illnesses from the contamination and the entire school eventually had to be relocated while further tests were carried out.


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