Opinion: Senator Ming On Plans To Close School

March 25, 2015

RENEE MING[Opinion column written by Senator Renee Ming]

St George’s is more to me than the place I live. It is the place where I grew up. It is the place where my family is from and it is where I am raising my children.

Some have used St George’s as a political football while displaying neither love nor commitment to the people who, like me, call St. George’s home. I have neither the time nor patience for those who have put themselves forward to represent my area, my family and friends, yet don’t seem to care about issues that matter to us.

Today my friends, my neighbours and my family are deeply concerned that the OBA plans to shut down East End Primary, yet the OBA’s representatives have disappeared and gone silent.

East End Primary is the oldest primary school in Bermuda. It was the first school that blacks could attend during segregation. East End Primary has shaped and molded countless Bermudians including Dame Jennifer Smith, MP Lovitta Foggo and even the OBA’s MP Kenneth Bascome.

Closing the school will bring an end to history that guided the paths of many of our community leaders. The OBA’s plan puts them on the wrong side of history and pits them against the very heart and soul of our community.

To say that I am baffled is an understatement that neither former student, MP Kenneth Bascome nor MP Nandi Outerbridge would show their support to the area constituents who elected them into power.

Despite a massive public outcry from the St George’s community across the political/racial divide, the pair of OBA representatives haven’t seen it important enough to attend any of the publicly held meetings thus far. I have one word to describe their inaction. Shameful!

Where do MPs Bascome and Outerbridge stand? Why won’t they speak out in defense of the countless east end residents, crying out for leadership and a strenuous defense against the OBA’s scheme to rip the very heart from our community?

In St. George’s we know our history. We will remember those who stood with us and those who failed to lift a finger to defend us. We will remember the strength of our allies, the actions of our opponents and those who sat by silently saying and doing nothing.

To the people of St. Georges and the friends of East End Primary School, the time is now, to come together, stand together and fight for what is ours and let everyone know that while the OBA might disrespect everyone else, we will stand against this move and we will fight to preserve our heritage – With or without MPs Bascome and Outerbridge.

- Senator Renee Ming

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Comments (39)

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  1. Tough Love says:

    Excellent! Yes fight for your school!

  2. Excuse me :-( Senator Ming, where were you or the Progressive Labour Party members / supporters when they’d blown-up the former Holiday Inn Hotel and made all types of promises? Or when the P.L.P.closed the Police Station and Fire Station only to relocate them? How about the neglect which had been shown to them that reside in the Ole Towne and its surrounding? God forbid a fire breaks out!
    No Madame, “you gotta come bedda dan dat”. It wasn’t the One Bermuda Alliance that created the countless problems people in St. George’s are facing it had been your party, the Progressive Labour Party

    • Mockingjay says:

      Hey Stormin Norman we know P.L.P. F!@#** up, but are you gonna admit that U.B.P/oba are F!@#*** up.
      Frogs whistling.

  3. Double D says:

    Why doesn’t the Senator address the fact that as part of the demand for non-furloughs the BTUC agreed to the consolidation of schools?

    Why doesn’t the Senator address the fact that East End primary is going to only have 66 students enrolled next year and is thus unsustainable?

    Where was the Senator when her Party stripped away the finances for the Corporation of St. Georges which prevented them from ensuring the Old Town had sufficient resources to maintain the infrastructure?

    Where was the Senator when her Party forced the closure of St. George’s golf course and the demolishing of a local beach bar business for a development that never came to fruition?

    Where was the Senator when this Government injected $750k into the Corporation of St. George’s to allow for infrastructure enhancements to be undertaken?

    Where was the Senator when this Government enacted a gas tax in which all proceeds go directly to the Old Town?

    Why does the Senator all of a sudden have a voice and care about St. Georges when her Party did everything in their power to beat the area down to what it is now, while Dockyard got all the attention?

    One thing is I do not have patience for hypocritical politicians who pretend to care. You don’t care about St. Georges Senator Ming, you only care about your Party.

    If not then where were you when the PLP neglected St. Georges and oversaw

    • Double D says:

      *and oversaw its economic demise with false promises and forcing the closure of businesses that provided economic activity in the area?

      You didn’t care then and you don’t care now.

      • Khali Shakir says:

        Double D you obviously don’t know the Senator! She has worked effortlessly for St. George’s having served on The Corporation of St. George’s before entering the main arena of politics.

        So if you want to know where she was……it’s simple, she was out there serving her community!!

        Her level of care and understanding of St. George’s far outreaches that of MP Nandi Outerbridge!

        Senator Ming is true blue!

        • Fed Up Bermudian says:

          Hee hee…’effortlessly’? So she’s not really been trying all that hard? I’ve never met her and I live out there, so please. I have no doubt her intentions are good, but facts are hard to fight. Where would the money come from? Why is enrollment there down, and very much increased at St. George’s Prep? Why is that school on life support? I understand the whole thing about history, but that’s about the buildings and its past. Care to comment about the quality of education at that location and how it compares with other schools? Why aren’t we looking at that? Why isn’t anyone focused on that?

        • Double D says:

          You just proved my point.

          She was involved in St. Georges all this time, but did nothing while the PLP oversaw the economic demise of the Olde Towne, presumably because she dare not speak out against the PLP.

          Where was her voice when the PLP took away the Corporation’s finances and prevented them from enhancing the infrastructure of the Town?

          Where was she when the PLP closed the golf course and Beach It bar at Fort St. Catherine’s for a foreign entity who did exactly what with the property?

          And if she truly loved St. George’s she would have extended her thanks to this Government who has done more for the St. George’s in 2 years than the PLP did in 14.

  4. Eastenders says:

    Totally agree Mrs. Senator Ming! They are now trying to break up our culture. My grandparents would not of been able to be educated because of the colour of her skin.

    Don’t let them chase us out. Remind them only you and MP Foggo care for the Eastend the others are missing in action. Bascome and Davis-outernobridge were a waste of votes.

    • Redman says:

      @ Eastenders,

      Breaking up our culture??? LOL. Victim Mentality Much?

      My father went to East End & my older brother started out at East End as well but this isn’t 1941 or 1965 & this isn’t about culture, skin colour or peoples political persuasion. 66 students next year @ cost per student significantly higher than all other Primary Schools & it’s increasing to unsustainable proportions… Nuff Said.

      PS. Mrs. Foggo and all other PLP MP’s have been missing in action at the East End since 1998. Oh yeah silly me, I forgot Mrs. Foggo did manage one crowning achievement… She got a one way road changed. LOL

      You can’t make this rubbish up!

      • Eastenders says:

        Ms. Foggo – is one of the hardest working politicians. Your OBAmps are missing in action.

        • Redman says:

          Well Mrs. Foggo is certainly trying hard to be more visible and may well be working hard… NOW!. Pity when the PLP where in power and she could have made a real difference she and the other PLP area MP’s sat idly by as quiet as a mouse. Maybe she was working hard behind the scenes? LOL

          Besides if she had been working hard for the East End voters as you suggest (laughs) St Georges would not have been neglected by the PLP as it had been. Also her crowning achievement would not have been getting a two way road turned into a one way road, something she claimed on doorsteps the length and breadth of her constituency prior to the last election.

          I agree that the other OBA area MP’s have been very quiet even on issues relating to their constituency. They may still be working hard behind the scenes and are just not seeking the photo ops like Mrs. Foggo is doing. ;-)

  5. San George says:

    This country is in a depression – 13% delinquency rates on debt, declining real estate values, job losses. Cost must be cut. However, there also must be leadership. If you are unable to lead get off the pot.

  6. serengeti says:

    Why doesn’t Senator Ming address the real problem?
    East End Primary’s enrolment is falling. Next year it is projected to have 66 pupils, total. It is under-used.
    It is also extremely expensive. E E Primary’s cost per student is $21,000. That is more than twice many other Primary school. It is higher than any other school in the entire Bermuda Primary system.
    The cost per student is also projected to increase by 24% year over year (yes, 24%, that is not a typo), while the same measure, cost per student, is decreasing in other schools.
    Instead of making weak statements about the school being ‘where her family is from’, why doesn’t Senator Ming address the real problems?
    The fact is that merging East End Primary with another school makes perfect sense.

  7. easy topic. says:

    Just close the school. If one school has 5 people registered and the other 8, why waste the money we don’t have now to have two teachers. 13 students two teachers at avg 138,000 a year.

    It baffles me how we are hearing worrying about history of a school the number of students are down immensely. There is nothing wrong keeping the building, maybe using it for community perspective projects. Heron Bay and Purvis is suppose to conjoin as one also. I mean seriously. This is waste of article.

    • PBanks says:

      On the flip side we have to ask how much will classroom size grow at the other schools that may take on the additional students. It’s probably not ideal to have classroom sizes approach 30, for example.

      It’s the stuff we need to know and figure out before critical decisions are finalized.

      • Fed Up Bermudian says:

        Where does size correlate to student achievement? Can we please find some information on that? BEcause I know people who came up through Victor Scott when it was still Central school, who attended huge classes and are far better educated than our graduates today. It’s not about class size.

        • PBanks says:

          It’s not all about class size, but it’s a significant factor especially for younger students.

          We, as parents, teachers and or administrators, should be aware of what the projected numbers are.

          • Fed Up Bermudian says:

            Show me the stats that support that viewpoint. The other school in St. George’s has a huge P1 class, maybe the biggest one in twenty years, and parents of kids there seem very satisfied with their children’s experience there. So are these kids just anomalies and all exceptional, or is the teacher just very skilled at managing her classroom? It’s not about size. It’s about quality of teaching, expectations on students, and parental involvement. You can’t do much about that last one, but you can do a LOT about the first and second.

            We as parents, teachers, and administrators need to recognize less skilled teaching, weed it out by either training or making a tough decision, we need to expect more out of our kids, and we need to stop swallowing the lines of BS that we’ve been fed in the past. Small class size is NOT equal to student achievement. We were fed a line years ago that we needed small class sizes so our kids would get the individual attention they needed. Nonsense. What that did was dilute the talent pool of teachers- instead of needing maybe twenty excellent P1 teachers, you then needed something like forty or fifty, so you could restrict classes to ten or maybe fifteen at a stretch. So do we have that many excellent P1 teachers? Probably not. So we import them, we de-Bermudianize the teaching pool, and it’s easier to hide teachers who aren’t all that good. So let’s think about that for a moment.

            Incidentally, expectations placed on the children at Prep are all around behaviour. Coming to school prepared, in uniform, with hair done according to school rules. Even lunchbox rules, about what they can and cannot have as food- no lunchables, no candy. So they behave well, and they perform well. And they are taught well.

  8. Reality check says:

    The parents of the East have voted with their feet. No one has been stopping them enrolling at East End. If they are breaking with family tradition and opting for the neighboring schools, you might like to stop and ask WHY?

    • Fed Up Bermudian says:

      EXACTLY.

    • Redman says:

      @ Reality check,

      Boom!! my sentiments exactly, if the school was so important then why is enrollment down? Must be a colour thing, maybe its politics (laughs) no the Proud St Georgians are simply sending their kids to other schools.

  9. Kangoocar says:

    Just more proof the plp will say anything no matter how stupid it is for votes??? Raymond and Double D, summed it up perfectly!!! Where was Sen Ming when all the plp destruction of St George was taking place????

  10. Rockfish#1 and #2 says:

    Renee.
    This matter is not about you, it is much larger than that.

    Please sit down and keep quiet until you have something sensible to say.

  11. LMAO says:

    Rockfish Please throw yourself on the bbq = my puppies can use a good grease.

  12. Rhonda says:

    As a PLP supporter I support consolidating Pre-Schools with Primary… with that said… recall the PLP starting a discussion on school consolidating….. was even marched on by some of the same people supporting the OBA for doing the same..

  13. watching says:

    Even if East End is required to be closed, I would have thought that as the MP’s for the area, Kenny Bascome and Nandi Outerbridge would have at least showed up to the meeting.
    But their lack of interest shows a disconnect from the issues that are really affecting St. Georgians.
    Very disappointing.

    • Use a Brother party aka OBA says:

      Kenny knows they only used him to secure a seat. Wait a minute how did they make Craig a Minister over Kenny. Kenny wasn’t even part of the JETGATE $300K + :(

    • I suggest to them that have question to come out and get the answers; though they may not be what you want to hear :-(
      “I encourage residents to come out and hear about our efforts to attract investment and jobs and also improve the infrastructure in St. George’s. We also want to hear from residents about their needs and concerns and what we can do help keep moving Bermuda forward.”

    • O.B.A. are to host an East End Town Hall meeting.. for everyone! On March 31

      The One Bermuda Alliance will be holding a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, March 31st at 7:00 pm at Penno’s Wharf. Hosted by M.P. Kenneth Bascome, M.P. Nandi Outerbridge and M.P. Suzanne Roberts-Holshouser, brief presentations will be made by Ministers followed by an opportunity for questions. Presentations will be made by Michael Dunkley, Premier and Minister.

    • Redman says:

      @ watching,

      Interesting, I thought they would (should) attend, this despite the meeting being purely an election ploy of the PLP. Of course it won’t change the reason the school must close.

      While I agree that not attending will be seen as a disconnect by some, the school closure can hardly be a serious issue. If keeping the school open was so important to St Georgians they would send their kids there in greater numbers thus ensuring it remains open.

  14. Dees says:

    Yes Renee – we can keep the school open – no problem. Just get the expats back who create jobs, who rent our houses, increase our tax base, contribute to healthcare, social insurance etc and of course place their children in our schools. No, no not all expat children go to private schools.

  15. bluebird says:

    We have a $2Billion dollar Debt and growing thank you PLP.
    What does she not understand about that ???

  16. Darwin's Child says:

    St George’s Prep was the school of choice twenty years ago. Nothing’s changed.

    • Redman says:

      @ Darwin’s Child,

      Yep and it was also the school of choice 40 plus years ago.

  17. eyes wide open says:

    Well done Senator Renee! You gave listened to your constiuents. The area representatives did not attend because they don’t care. It has been evident for some time. We are paying attention, keep up the good work. You have and continue to be an advocate for St George’s.