MP Kelvin Simon Calls on Government to Install AC Units in all Schoo

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

As record breaking temperatures impact the wellbeing of students and their performance in the classroom,  Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst has announced that only the hottest schools in Antigua and Barbuda will be fitted with air conditioning units.

M.P. for St. Mary South, Hon. Kelvin Simon is outraged that although the Gaston Browne administration acknowledges the impacts of climate change, they have failed to install air conditioning units to ensure climate control in all schools as originally promised. According to M.P. Simon, instead of prioritizing the welfare of students, the government continues to offer a litany of flimsy excuses.

Simon rejects Hurst’s claims that the government is prioritizing the hottest and most uncomfortable classrooms in an effort to optimize resource allocation. Instead, Simon believes that the process of AC installation is being politicized. He questions why eight months after the installation of air conditioning units began at Urlings Primary School, those units are still not functioning. 

“This just confirms our suspicions that the installation of AC units by the Ministry of Education at the Urlings School was nothing but a political gimmick during the by-election. They are playing dirty politics and ignoring the welfare of our students,” Simon stated.

M.P. Simon references an article in the Observer newspaper, dated October 18th 2023, where Education Minister Daryl Matthew admitted that with the stifling temperatures, all classrooms will be outfitted with air conditioning units.

Simon does not believe that any objective criteria can be used to determine which schools are hotter than others. He hopes that the installation of AC units will be fast tracked to ensure climate control in the classrooms and that the process will not be further politicized. 

“This is just hypocrisy coming out of the SIDS4 Conference. One would expect that we would be positioning our youth to drive the innovation and resilience necessary to tackle global challenges such as climate change. So why are we not focusing on improving the environment for them to learn?” Simon asks.

M.P. Simon urges the government to focus on creating energy and sustainability solutions for the future. “We must get serious about addressing the real impacts of climate change to improve the quality of life for all Antiguans and Barbudans, and move away from the cheap politics,” Simon said.

Kelvin Simon MP

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