Simons: ‘Enough Of Studies, It Is Time For Action’

April 10, 2019 | 29 Comments

Cole Simons Bermuda December 2018“This Government has not committed sufficient resources to have this matter cleared and resolved once and for all,” Shadow Education Minister Cole Simons said, adding that “we have had enough of studies, it is time for action.”

Mr. Simons said, “The issue of mold has come to a head at T.N. Tatem Middle School because it has not been adequately and effectively addressed by the Ministries of Education and Public Works.

“We have tests after tests performed by the Government’s Health and Safety officers, water consultants and other local and international consultants.

“The scale of the problem has been identified and well defined, but Government’s remediation plans are not working and have been ineffective and as a consequence our students and teachers continue to be at risk.

“Perhaps if $1.2m had not been given in a so-called friends and family payment and instead used on this school, we could have been further ahead in affecting an effective remediation program at T.N. Tatem.

“Let’s be frank, this Government has not committed sufficient resources to have this matter cleared and resolved once and for all. We have had enough of studies, it is time for action.

“They know that students and teachers are at risk.

“I have been advised that 12 teachers and three students have reported their concerns to the Ministry. In fact one teacher reported that she had to come to school with a face mask because she contracted bronchitis because of the mold. Eventually she had to quit the school because of her health.

“In light of this teacher’s departure, the school hired a replacement teacher who joined the school as recent as January this year. She was not aware of the challenges faced by the previous teacher in the same classroom, and she is now faced with similar bronchial attacks. Are these similar health challenges being faced by our students?

“On another note, last year the Minister of Public Works made it his business and went to Dellwood Middle School to examine the mold challenges faced by the school and came up with a plan to address these challenging issues.

“It is now time for him to do the same for T.N. Tatem. The school is in a chronic state and needs immediate attention, and lasting remediation plans. Just lowering the levels of mold to acceptable levels and respective species counts is not good enough as this only addresses the symptoms of the problem and does not address the root cause.

“The Government must decide what it is going to do. It has to either craft a proper remediation plan which will address the root causes of the unhealthy levels of mold that have plagued this school in recent times, or they must make a decision to repurpose the school and its campus. This state of affairs just can not be allowed to continue.

“We cannot have this reoccurring problem and farm out our students and teachers to other schools, like Clearwater Middle School, Purvis Primary, Heron Bay Primary and Paget Primary, because this action is disruptive to students, teachers and parents. It is just not conducive to the delivery of quality education and improved student outcomes.

“This time has now come for the Government make some difficult decisions for the school, its students, teachers and parents. The mold and health challenges cannot linger on.”

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Comments (29)

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  1. Issues alike says:

    “Friends and family payments” is this guy for real? After your government took money out of our schools for your sailboat race and DID NOT INVEST it back in the school system? Look I’m tired of the political games BOTH parties are playing when it comes to our children but Cole Simmons you really need to keep your mouth closed because your time as education minister was POOR. You had the same mold problems at the same school during your time and you DID nothing about. Why dont you actually become part of the solution instead of being part of the ongoing problem we have with our politicians on BOTH sides….gosh

    • question says:

      When did they ‘take money out of schools’ and when did they ‘not invest’ in the school system?
      They were pouring money into schools and education the whole time they were in. Despite the mess the PLP had left everything in.

    • Zzzz says:

      I don’t recall mold as a problem back when I was in school. We also didn’t have air conditioning. The ceiling fans were always on and the windows where open almost every day.

      Wonder if there is a connection between mold and air conditioning.

    • Bullseye says:

      Sure would be nice to have a sailboat race now with all that economic activity and jobs and hustles and excitement.
      The problem is not that schools arent getting enough money – it costs more to educate a public school child than a private one. The problem is how the money is being spent. Salaries for bureacrats in the Dept of Education is where the bloat is. Not enough money for teachers, supplies or upkeep. It’s going to the paperpushers and policy-makers.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Cole must work for the PLP because with him around the OBA will stay in opposition :-D

    • wahoo says:

      The “boat race” was an investment whilst committees, studies etc are stall tactics that cost money and historically produce nothing. PLP won the election on a platform that included fixing schools, creating jobs, investigating pepper spray thing, fixing transport etc. Their feet are at the fire now but they can’t take the heat. They cannot fire the black list guy and they cannot fire the school janitor, they cannot fire anyone that is in the CS so be prepared for failure after failure. The people have been tricked by a bunch that have no clue what they are doing. Kiss my a@@ man your party have caused nothing but damage and you will realize it way too late.

    • red rose says:

      You know, it was not that long ago that Ministers were holding press conferences to say all was good at the schools and that everything that needed fixing and cleaning was fixed and cleaned.

    • justasuggestion says:

      I have to agree with “issues alike”

      This has been a problem for longer than I can remember at T.N Tatem. Get the mould sorted. I’d also ask, fix the hot water. Over 2 years now with no hot water at certain areas within the campus, and to be told by a minister last year, summer is coming, water will heat. Way below average. Keep at them P.T.A

    • mixitup says:

      Exactly..

    • aceboy says:

      Quick, let’s hire a PR person to say everything is fine.

  2. Come on man says:

    Mate, when you where Minister you did like zero, zilch, I mean nothing, so fall back and go back to your normal job. As all Ministers have no clue and rely solely on civil servants for guidance, there needs to be someone with a High level Management background in Education and Operations. Ill repeat…AND OPERATIONS, because a lot of senior civil servants wouldn’t last one day in the private sector leading operations. Poor planning , knee jerk reactions, and no consistency in anything; curriculum, maintenance, pick your flavor. Always trying to compete with the private schools flip flopping ideas and end up failing and dont even believe in their own product if you check whos kids are in private schools….yep plenty senior civil servants because they know the public school system is broken.
    Why is Education under a Minister anyway? Make it an Authority or anything but take these smiley face, no clue havin, politicians out of the picture. Only in Bermuda can you drive Taxi one day, or do administrative work, or be a construction worker etc etc….and the next day you are in charge of an entire country Education infrastructure with zero experience. I believe in democracy but I also believe in common sense and the set up now has not, and is not working for us.

  3. The total irony of O.B.A….did NOTHING FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY..DID A LOT FOR FOREIGNERS….Grant Gibbons was useless, dashed to A.C.B. Ridiculous.
    Pay attention, Simons, still doing the bidding of others!!

    • wahoo says:

      Nothing you say makes sense even when you put it in big letters.

      • WAHOO::
        You read it. HAHAHAHAHA!!
        It obviously made sense… to you!!
        I repeat:
        Cole Simons..quit doing the WILL of others.
        HAHAHA!!

        • bluenose says:

          Are you able to back up your assertion re: the OBA doing nothing for this country and a lot for foreigners? Or are you just deflecting again? Never mind. I have the answer already.

    • bluenose says:

      Do you actually believe the rubbish that you post, or is it just an attempt at deflection?

  4. John E. Thorne says:

    Where is the People’s Campaign?
    Sorry I forgot they are really the PLP Campaign!

  5. cpm says:

    You need a reality check
    The sailboat race generated a massive profit for our island but thanks to small minded people like you it will never return
    Going to mold in schools how come Tweed and peoples camapaign are not marching and teachers are not striking?

    • Joe says:

      Please tells us how much profit it made and how much it cost us to host.

      • question says:

        How much ‘profit’ is being made by spending millions of borrowed taxpayer dollars on media consultants, whose only job is to make excuses for PLP failures?

      • bluenose says:

        Why don’t you investigate it yourself? Try the PWC Report rather than the fake news that you are likely believing.

      • Anonymous says:

        All that information is readily available in the PWC report that was released a year or so ago. If I can remember correctly, we paid 75 million to host, and the report stated the return was roughly 370 million. Stop listening to the PLP brainwashing. They’re even lamenting that they don’t have an AC type event to help boost the economy.

  6. Real Deal says:

    foolishness never enough Studies to make you understand the problem the effects and side effects different solutions will have when applied.
    ubp made this mistake when they removed corporal punishment with out a proper planing or replacement. than they made the mega school without thinking what the side effects maybe.

    we feel the side effects of those mistakes today

  7. Riddle me this says:

    Didnt your previous leader say that the teachers were faking when you were Minister? No you are on the teachers side? Get outta here hahaha that is HILARIOUS. Id venture to say you dont even believe what you are saying, just trying to score points. You had the chance to start the pprocess because the mold was around when you were in charge,please tell us what you did sir?…(crickets))

    • Question says:

      Well at least he didn’t spend two million dollars a year on smooth talking consultants to make excuses.

  8. Joe says:

    All you foolish people with your party allegiances arguing against each other for what party they support while the PLP and OBA are selling the country to the highest bidder. How stupid are you all to think either of your parties are any better then the other. The one section that always loses is the working class people of Bermuda, wake up and see what both governments have done to Bermuda over the years, stop with this not my party nonsense and realize that neither of them are working for the best interest of Bermudians, we are still drowning in financial debts, struggling to pay sky high rents, taxes and insurance fees. Tell me what OBA or PLP has done for Bermudas economy and its people except dictate to us what they want to see happen…

  9. Starting Point says:

    OBA this PLP that…whats the common denominator to every single government we have had over the last 20 years?

    The civil service and union. The schools are falling apart because the civil service lacks the skills and education to manage projects effectively and departments like works and engineering have staff who are frankly lazy and lack initiative based on their unions goal of doing the least amount of work for the most amount of money.

    A civil service with an employee appraisal that means nothing, evaluations done by managers who are incapable of providing meaningful critique and are terrified of conflict.

    A labor force who have No appraisal process whats so ever. As negotiated by their Union.

    keep changing government all you want, there will be no change until Bermuda faces reality.

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