The government has said that it will subsidise the cost associated with assigning new teachers to the Nyabinghi Theocracy School.
Government Chief of Staff, Lionel Max Hurst said teachers will be asked to extend their services to the Rastafarian community, where they will teach the public school curriculum.
“They need teachers who are qualified”, Hurst said, adding, that the government would determine how many teachers they would need, depending on the number of students who attend.
“We don’t want to leave anybody behind because we don’t want them to become second class citizens,” he stressed.
Hurst explained that “they are citizens of Antigua and Barbuda and we don’t want them to be disadvantaged. They must not only be farmers and grow marijuana to make a living. We want them to become medical doctors and engineers and architects and so on…have the same opportunities like everybody else.”
The teachers, Hurst said, are likely to start in January 2018, after the school break ends.
He is hoping that the government will find teachers who will volunteer to teach at the Nyabinghi Theocracy School.
The government has also agreed to provide additional Rastafarian communities with electricity, running water and Internet “in order to ensure that no permanent underclass is allowed to appear in Antigua.”
Hurst explained that some Rastafarian communities don’t have running water or electricity and that “they’re living in a primitive state in most instances.”
Therefore, he said, the government will provide these utilities at a “minimal cost”.
“We are talking about a figure that is essentially less that 0.01 percent. We’re looking at a small figure, maybe $3,500 a month, if that much for electricity, internet and water,” he said.
The government chief of staff said they have given themselves a timeline of 60 days, after which installation of services and teacher placement will begin.
According to Hurst, the government is liaising with a Rastafarian elder familiarly called “Father”.