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Over EC$2 million for St. Mary's College Expansion

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - The Government of Saint Lucia through the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development Youth and Sports, will make available over EC$2 million in the financial year 2005 – 2006, towards the expansion and upgrading of St. Mary’s College. These funds will be used for the construction of six classrooms and a science block to be fully furnished by the Ministry of Education.

Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on the government estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2005/2006, Hon. Mario Michel, Minister of Education Human Resource Development Youth and Sport said this extensive investment in St. Mary’s College will ensure the increase in enrolment at this premier secondary school from 579 at present to between 700 and 875 at the end of the project.

Hon. Michel said “Now I understand that there is some resistance in certain quarters to the expansion of the enrolment of St. Mary’s College. But no rational individual can realistically canvass for the maintenance of the current enrolment of St. Mary’s College which among the lowest of the nineteen publicly-funded secondary schools in Saint Lucia. Indeed St. Mary’s College is among the five top performing secondary schools in Saint Lucia and is presently the smallest by far among the top five – Vieux Fort Comprehensive has 874 students, Castries Comprehensive has 823, Leon Hess Comprehensive has 752, St. Joseph’s Convent has 727, while St. Mary’s College has 571 students”.

Hon. Michel who is the Parliamentary representative for Gros-Islet said that in addition to the actual expenditure of about EC$2 million on civil works, the Ministry will also be responsible for uncosted elements of project management and architectural and engineering services.

Since assuming office in 1997, Government has disbursed nearly $800,000.00 as part of commitment to providing matching funds for refurbishing and expansion of St. Mary’s College. This included EC$538,798.00 in 1998/1999, EC$200,000.00 in 2002/2003 and a further EC$50,000.00 in the financial year 2003/2004. This was in keeping with a commitment by Government to provide at least EC$1 million to match the amount raised by the College from pubic fundraising activities.

Hon. Michel said that not only has government kept its promise in this regard, but has also maintained its annual contribution of EC$60,000.00 towards the operating expenses of the school.

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