Govt Reform Statement
Foggo: safety of students is paramount
A school safety report will be published by the end of the year after work to fix problems has been inspected, the Minister of Government Reform said.
Lovitta Foggo confirmed the document, which was intended for official use, will be made available to the public.
She was speaking on Wednesday, after Diallo Rabain, the education minister, backtracked on a claim that the report had yet to be finished despite the completion of health and safety reviews nine months ago.
Ms Foggo said: “I wish to stress that by October 13, 2017, all public schools had been inspected.
“The initial high level preliminary report was received by my ministry at the end of the same month and following the logging and updating of the data, the report was transmitted to the Ministry of Works.
“I can also confirm that a series of meetings among technical officers ensued in the weeks and months following its receipt by the Ministry of Works.”
Ms Foggo said “a great deal of time” has been spent by the safety and health co-ordinator to turn the findings into reports for individual schools that allow them to develop plans for maintenance and repairs.
She added, any high risk problems were “addressed ... on an urgent basis”.
Ms Foggo said: “The public can rest assured that the safety and health of our students and teachers is paramount and this government is committed to maintaining a safe learning and working environment for our children and teachers.
“The Health and Safety Inspection Report for Public Schools, intended for internal use, will be released later this year following an audit of the corrective actions taken to address the findings.”
In an update following the Progressive Labour Party’s first year in government, Ms Foggo said her ministry has aimed to “strengthen” administrative infrastructure to deliver “key services more effectively and efficiently”.
The work included a technology boost for the Bermuda Post Office to pave the way for a new online shopping system.
Mr Rabain said on Monday that a preliminary inspection report on schools safety was “still being compiled”, but confirmed the following day it had been provided to the Ministry of Public Works on January 23.
Ms Foggo said she did not know why Mr Rabain appeared to be unaware that the preliminary report had been handed over to the education ministry.
She added: “I can’t speak for the minister, but I can tell you that it was supplied, as it was supplied also to the Ministry of Works.”
Ms Foggo said the “evolution of the Post Office” was a high priority and after a public consultation earlier this year, advancements in technology could allow island residents to have access to an international mailing address for e-commerce.
She added: “Armed with the feedback from the general public, as well as the retail division of the Chamber of Commerce and coupled with the realities of declining mail volumes and an island-wide footprint in terms of physical infrastructure, this government has set out on an ambitious course to expand the product offering of the Bermuda Post Office.
“We aim to centralise the delivery of government services.
“In preparation for the change, the Government has procured an IT postal operations solution that will enhance technological capacity and reduce manual processes.”
Ms Foggo said an “applications analyst” was added to the team in February.
She added: “Implementation of this new system establishes the framework for the roll-out of the new online shopping product.”
Ms Foggo said amendments to the Interpretation Act to lay the foundations for the Official Gazette to move from newsprint to online were also under way.
•Update: This story initially said Lovitta Foggo was speaking yesterday, but has been amended to reflect the fact she was speaking on Wednesday. We apologise for the error.