Gibbons: I hope Gilbert Institute stays open
The former Minister for Education Grant Gibbons said he hopes that Gilbert Institute does not close as part of his party’s school reorganisation [Score] plan.
Dr Gibbons, who handed over the One Bermuda Alliance education portfolio to Wayne Scott last year when becoming Minister for Economic Development, was a vocal opponent of the school closing when he was shadow education minister under the Progressive Labour Party Government. When the PLP also looked at closing Gilbert Institute in 2010 and Dr Gibbons rallied behind the school.
Dr Gibbons has remained quiet on the issue since the OBA announced Gilbert Institute — the only primary school in Bermuda for the deaf and hard of hearing — one of four schools that could face closure.
The Royal Gazette asked Dr Gibbons about his stance after a recent press conference about the success of the Louis Vuitton World America’s Cup Series.
He told us: “I don’t want to encroach on the territory of my colleague Wayne Scott but I think it is fair to say that no decisions have been made at this particular point. The report that was done was by a quasi-independent group I think the whole point was to have the report done and look at all the issues related to schools. Gilbert is very close to my heart — it is in my constituency and I know a lot of the parents and I have already been contacted by a number of them.
“Gilbert has done a very nice job with a lot of the children who have come through there. All of these issues, I am sure, the minister will have a look at. I hope that it doesn’t close because I think Gilbert has quite a long history. Some of my constituents are hearing-impaired students and I think it does a nice job in that respect. I think the minister has a very difficult decision to make and he has to look at it in the context of all that.
“One of the reasons for holding public meetings is to get an understanding of how parents and the community feel about it and I think that is the right way to go here.
“But we also have economic decisions to make too.”
Gilbert Institute was named in the recent Score report as a potential school for closure along with St David’s Primary School, Heron Bay Primary School and Prospect Primary School.