Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has advised students of the Newtown Primary School to stay away from drugs and alcohol.
Speaking at the official opening and commissioning of the China-funded new school on Monday, he said such substances don’t belong in the lives of students.
“I want you to stay away from drugs and alcohol; these things have no place in your life,” he said. “You can do without it and therefore you should stay without it. Make yourself proud by being excellent in what you do and make your parents proud because many of your parents are sacrificing many things to allow you to have the opportunity to attend school.
He also advises the students to take their education seriously.
“I want to say to students you need to take education seriously, you need to study, you need to respect yourself, respect your fellow classmates, respect your teachers, respect your parents and respect those in authority and those in our society,” he said.
Skerrit told the students to stay in school and do well to move on to secondary school, “because this government has ensured that every single child in Dominica who gets to Grade 6 at the primary school level has a space at a secondary school in Dominica.”
“We firmly believe in this government that every single child born has the ability to learn and every single child born has talent and skills and it is left to us as a society and educators to allow those talents to shine forth and let our students know that they are in fact bright and intelligent,” he stated. “No child is stupid as we say sometimes, every single child is bright and it is left to us as teachers to use our skills, our education, our training to bring these things out of our children.”
Skerrit called on teachers to take their role seriously, “because what you say and what you do to a child in these five hours which you have with him in a day can decide what the child becomes tomorrow.”
He called on parents to let children and neighbours know at the home that education is a priority.
“We must not leave our children without the needs to take advantage of the access to education and spend our money on a 50-inch screen television from a service provider in Dominica,” he remarked.“We cannot say we do not have monies to buy a text book but we have a Smartphone cost $2700. We cannot say that we are too busy to come to PTA meetings and to collect our children’s report books and then we spend three nights in the Windsor Park Stadium at festival.”
Skerrit believes that it’s through education children will get out of poverty.
“When our children go to school and do well nobody can take this away from them,” he remarked. “Therefore as a country I want us to rededicate ourselves to the well-being of our children.”
President of Dominica His Excellency Charles Savarin and Mrs Savarin, Parliamentary Representative of the Roseau South Constituency, Joshua Francis, Speaker of the House of Assembly Alix Boyd-Knights, Mayor of Roseau Irene John among other distinguished guests were present at the ceremony.
The school was funded by the government of the People’s Republic of China to the sum of $6-million.