Old school building going to waste - MP shuns calls to turn it into training centre
Member of Parliament for St Andrew West Rural, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, has pushed back at suggestions that she should convert the Mount James Primary and Infant School building into a skills-training centre.
The school was among 18 learning institutions closed more than five years ago because of its small population, under performance, high operational costs, among other things.
Last Friday several people in the area told THE STAR that they believe the building should be used for skills training or as a factory.
However, Cuthbert-Flynn said that it does not make sense to establish a skills-training centre in Mount James as a HEART academy is located in Stony Hill, which is just about a mile away.
"There is a huge HEART skills training centre in Stony Hill. I am not going to take any skills training centre in Mount James, when they don't even want to utilise the community centre there. One taxi can take them right to Stony Hill, what is stopping them?," the two-term MP said yesterday.
The MP was contacted after some residents lamented the state of the building, which now lies in ruins.
"Wi hear say the building was going to be renovated fi something else because the school close down and nah use again. Mi still a look out for that," said Lisa.
Patrice, who has spent her whole life in the community, said she is hoping that the facility can be used for something constructive where young people can benefit.
"Maybe a police youth club or some form of skills training centre to help uplift the young people in the community could replace the building because a long time it stay so now," she said.
Another resident, Joyhi Edwards, thinks that the building could be converted into a gym or computer training centre.
"The building is there rotting, so dem can might as well turn it into a gym or a proper computer lab weh di youths dem can learn fi create software programmes and such," he said.
Cuthbert-Flynn told THE STAR that a computer centre, which has been established in the community, remains under-utilised.
"What l did a few years ago was to put in six computers in that centre, with a brand new printer, and hardly anybody uses it. They even want me to come and cut the field. The community needs to be organised and be a part of the community and they don't. Until the community recognises that they have to take matters in their own hands and be a community, I am not willing to do much of anything because none of them attend the community association meeting," she said.