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PLP MP backs mother ‘1000%’ over stance on primary school closure

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Jamahl Simmons (File Photograph)

Jamahl Simmons, a prominent Progressive Labour Party MP, has strongly defended his mother after she criticised the education minister over sweeping changes to primary schools.

The former Cabinet member said he would always put his family ahead of any other consideration after Cecille Snaith-Simmons hit out at Diallo Rabain for making what she called “insulting” comments about West End Primary School which is slated to close as part of a shake-up of primary schools.

Ms Snaith-Simmons used an opinion piece in The Royal Gazette to attack the minister for suggesting the proposed new Somerset Primary School could take West End’s name as she accused him of overlooking the shadow of racism.

Mr Simmons Tweeted in the wake of the comments: “I support my mother 1000%. No organisation, no individual, Nothing can come before family and integrity”

The Tweet by the MP contained a link to The Royal Gazette article by his mother.

It is not the first time that Mr Simmons has addressed the proposed closure of West End Primary School.

Last year the MP for Sandys South wrote a letter which his mother read out at a rally held against the closure, in which he said he was “deeply saddened by the decision to close this iconic Sandys, Black institute of learning”.

Regarding the proposed name choice, Ms Snaith-Simmons used the opinion article to say of Mr Rabain: “Once again, he has insulted the history of West End Primary School.

“Surely, by now the minister must realise that we are not shallow or simple-minded people who can easily be pleased or swayed by the switching of names.”

Ms Snaith-Simmons wrote: “In his statement, he also added that the West End Primary School in its past had been located in four other locations.

“I noticed the minister neglected to mention one very important detail. These locations were always where the majority of the population lived. This has not changed.

“I also noticed he failed to mention that Somerset Primary, whose name he wants to change to West End Primary, sits off the beaten track and is considered a monument to past racism within this community.

“I firmly believe that the minister and the team that surrounds him have failed to understand, or possibly don’t care about, the importance of history and its relevance to the psyche of the Somerset community.”

Cecille Snaith-Simmons (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

At a press conference earlier this month, the education minister defended the primary school changes, insisting they were the best way forward.

He said: “We analysed each campus. Each campus within a particular parish that scored the highest was selected to be redeveloped into the parish primary school.

“So, when we hear that West End is closing, Somerset primary is staying open, that is, again, a red herring.

“What we are doing is opening a new parish primary school on the site of the best place to have one in that parish.”

West End Primary School a staple institution in the western community to face closure by the Governments new reform plan (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Government and PLP were contacted for comment.

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Published November 18, 2022 at 7:54 am (Updated November 18, 2022 at 7:54 am)

PLP MP backs mother ‘1000%’ over stance on primary school closure

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