Hon. Shawn Richards Weighs in on NIOSH Report

(ZIZ News) — The country’s Education Minister, Hon. Shawn Richards, has dispelled claims by the Opposition that he is avoiding the media on the recently published report of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH].

This week, he was featured in an interview on Freedom Radio when he said the NIOSH Report can be determined to be inconclusive.

He confirmed that when the tests were carried out, the school was not occupied for several months. Therefore, he explained, the impact of the findings would not have been as great as previous testing done by either CARIRI or CARPHA.

“They went into the school at a time when the toilets were not being used, the bathrooms were not being used, the labs were not being used. There are some persons who are of the view that perhaps there was soil contamination but when you take into account the fact that the school was not in use for several months, that again would have some sort of impact. Because if you have contaminants leaking into the soil for year, be it from the bathroom or the chemistry lab that, to some extent, would have subsided,” he said.

Minister Richards confirmed that there was no testing of the soil, the septic tanks or soakaways.

He added that active leaks and fresh water damage were evident as was bubbling and peeling of paint on beams in classrooms.

“We know that in previous reports they identified an issue with mold. Now, if you see paint peeling and you see bubbling in some of the classrooms is it that the mold was painted over? What is it that is now causing the paint to peel? What is it that is causing the paint to bubble?” he asked.

Minister Richards, who also serves as the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, has promised to make a public announcement on the way forward for the school.

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