Staff members and students at the Antigua State College have presented Prime Minister Gaston Browne with a plethora of issues affecting their learning and productivity.
Browne visited the institution on Tuesday and while he attempted to address concerns in real time, the volume appeared to be overwhelming.
One demand made by a member of staff was for “at least 20 computers” to equip a computer lab in the Engineering Department. The teacher said that same department is in need of washroom facilities and urgent repairs.
In response and while still at the podium, Browne immediately called a local computer supplier to order 25 computers.
“We will deliver those by tomorrow and then we will import the balance,” Browne who is also finance minister said.
The prime minister also gave instructions for the construction of the washroom “immediately” telling the person who raised the concern “consider that done.”
He warned those gathered that he had to be responsible because he did not want to bankrupt the Treasury.
“No more requests please, at least those without financial implications,” the country’s leader joked.
A student of the Aircraft Maintenance department complained about the EC$ 20,000 a year school fee in the absence of books and equipment for that department.
Before the prime minister could respond Principal of the ASC Hyram Forde jumped in to address the concerns which also included no wifi and a leaking building.
Forde said the building in question was “recent” but said improvements are being made to the internet and electricity issues
“Its a work in progress,” he insisted. Forde said the aircraft programme is already being subsidised.
“We have not harassed anybody about paying tuition,” the Principal said adding, “you people present a situation like we have absolutely no tools.”
Reon King a student debater said his colleagues had difficulty getting the necessary resources to broaden their skills.
But the prime minister told him he has been “asking the wrong person” and should direct his request to Maurice Merchant who heads the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Committee.
Lecturers were also promised additional increases as well as back pay but the prime minister said that was subject to negotiations.
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