Authorities accused of ignoring failing grade given to ASC

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A copy of a report from Central Board of Health (CBH) that was sent to the media this week, revealed that government authorities and campus administration knew for at least three months that the deplorable conditions at the Antigua State College (ASC) had reached crisis point, but failed to act on the findings and recommendations.

A thorough inspection of the ASC campus in Golden Grove was undertaken by the CBH on November 15th and 21st last year, and the report of that study was submitted on December 13th.

The report was available for 90 days prior to the protest action undertaken a week ago as administrative and ancillary staff protested for better working conditions.

Within those 90 days no effort was made to address any of the concerns detailed in the report.

It is because of the industrial action taken by the lecturers and staff that the Ministry of Works has promised to deliver a formal address explaining what will be done to mitigate the conditions of the college, today, Friday.

The 10-page report disclosed that a six-member team of public and environmental health officers carried out the exercise, in collaboration with the Solid Waste Management Authority.

Immediately standing out from the CBH inspection report was the painfully repetitive grading of ‘unsatisfactory’ given to almost every single component of the 12 aspects in 21 areas of the college plant and functions that they examined.

The 12 aspects referred to were the compound, building, classrooms, lighting, ventilation, water supply, plumbing, accident and rodent control, accident prevention, staffroom, toilet facilities and solid waste disposal.

Where toilet facilities were concerned, the inspectors found that the walls were contaminated, and adequate soap and water for washing not available.

Fire extinguishers had not been serviced, and clearly marked fire exits were not to the satisfaction of the inspectors – but neither was anything else.

Looking at the CBH inspection report, ASC could be described as ‘a house of cracks’ since the report noted that cracks were everywhere – in the ceilings, the floors, the tiles and the walls. Infestation with termites, algae and mold; poor lighting, rusted fixtures, exposed electrical wires and sockets, windows that cannot open or close.

The report is an overwhelming litany of hazards and flaws that explained why the ASC staff felt they simply could not function in that environment any longer. A lot of remedial work will be required and has been recommended.

On Wednesday, Acting Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin criticized the college’s management, including Principal Hyram Forde, for having been privy to the report but not taking steps to have its recommendations implemented.

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