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St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Having the Basseterre High School constructed under the current term is one of the focus areas for newly elected Minister of Education Jonel Powell.

The newly appointed minister received his instruments of appointments on Sunday (June 14) and is now the Minister of Education Sports, Youth and Culture.

“My plan is to build the Basseterre High School, a lot of the ground if not all of it has been done, and now it is time for execution. It would have and should have been done last term, but we understood the dynamics that arose, the concerns that were raised and the government thought it wise to slow down the pace at which we were going with the Basseterre High School to ensure that each and every person were fully equipped with all the necessary knowledge of all what was happening and how it was going to happen. And so that being done it is a matter of execution now and the Basseterre High School will be built this term under the Team Unity government.”

Speaking with WINN FM on his priority areas Monday, Minister Powell pointed to the impact of the COVID-19 on the education sector as a major focus in the short term.

“In respect of the COVID-19 challenges and how that has affected the education system in St Kitts and Nevis, I know some decisions are going to have to be made in terms of school, when to open up, how to open up and so the most critical thing is to get a briefing on how we are dealing with the COVID-19 situation as an education system.”

The minister, while outlining plans for the sector, acknowledged that he has to first understand changes made before implementing any of his ideas.

“I have to first get a proper understanding, I need to have an appreciation of where we are at, where we’ve been, where we are going, what plans are in place. I don’t think it’s for me to get in and just sort of change things around so to speak but I need to satisfy myself as to where we are at and how the game plan has been and how successful it has been.”

Being addressed as a minister is still sinking in, the former ambassador confessed, calling it a “surreal experience”.

“…Today begins a new chapter in terms of the actual ministerial portfolio, one that is quite heavy, to be honest. And so I’m excited to get going, I have an open mind and I myself have a lot of learning to do over the next days, to weeks, to months … to ensure that I can create the necessary vision for my portfolio.”

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