Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports
Release Date:
Friday, 19 January 2024 - 2:32pm

Remarks by the Honourable Sharie De Castro

Minister for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports

19th January 2024

Opening Ceremony of the Jost Van Dyke Primary School


Ladies and Gentlemen Good Afternoon, it is with immense joy and a profound sense of accomplishment that I stand before you today as we celebrate the opening of the Jost Van Dyke Primary School. This momentous occasion marks a significant stride in our commitment to providing quality education to every corner of our beautiful islands, as we strive to create conducive learning environments for our students. The completion of this eagerly awaited project is symbolic of the government's unwavering dedication to ensuring that every child has access to a high-quality education, regardless of their geographical location.

I must begin by extending sincere gratitude to the government of the Virgin Islands for their unwavering commitment to education and for prioritising the funding that has made the realisation of the Jost Van Dyke Primary School possible. In allocating resources and prioritising education, the government has not only invested in bricks and mortar but has invested in the future of the children of Jost Van Dyke. It is through the government's vision and support that we stand here today, celebrating the opening of this educational facility. The impact of this investment will be felt for generations to come as it opens doors to knowledge, empowers young minds, and paves the way for a brighter future. While embarking on this educational journey, we encountered hurdles and challenges that tested our patience. The construction phase, unfortunately, faced delays that were beyond our control. Yet, throughout this period, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the staff, students, parents, and the broader community for their unwavering patience and understanding. Your steadfast support has been invaluable, and it is because of your resilience that we stand here today to celebrate this achievement.

Towards the end of the construction phase, the Leonora Delville Primary School graciously opened its doors to the students and staff of Jost Van Dyke Primary School. The heavy rains in October rendered the Jost Van Dyke Primary School facility unusable, but out of this challenge emerged an opportunity to foster collaboration and unity between two schools. I extend my sincere thanks to the principal, staff, and students of the Leonora Delville Primary School for their warm welcome and openness to this unique experience. The integration of two schools not only demonstrated resilience but also created opportunities for learning and development among both staff and students.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the Recovery and Development Agency and the contractor Quality Construction for their pivotal roles in the successful execution of this project. Your dedication and hard work have transformed the vision of the Jost Van Dyke Primary School into a reality. I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to the Soggy Dollar Foundation and Unite BVI for your generosity and commitment to the Jost Van Dyke Primary School. Your support is instrumental in ensuring that our students have the resources they need to thrive, and it exemplifies the strength that can be achieved when the public and private sectors join forces in pursuit of a common goal.

As we celebrate this milestone, we are aware that there is more work to be done. The Ministry has been informed by the RDA that furniture and playground equipment have been procured, and we eagerly await their arrival. Additionally, certain safety measures must be put in place before the community can utilise the building. The Ministry has been assured by the RDA that these measures will be addressed as a matter of priority. I am pleased to announce that the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College is set to establish a satellite campus right here at this location. This means that residents of Jost Van Dyke will soon have the opportunity to access higher education, specialised training, and certification without the need to travel far. This is a significant step towards providing our community with broader educational opportunities and ensuring that individuals can acquire the skills and knowledge needed for personal and professional growth.

In addition to the educational facilities, we recognise the importance of a well –equipped library for any school and community. I am delighted to inform you that plans are underway to facilitate a library at this location. A library is not only a repository of knowledge but also a space that fosters a love for reading and learning. It will serve as a valuable resource for both students and the wider community, promoting a culture of continuous learning and intellectual curiosity.

School infrastructure plays a crucial role in shaping the educational experience of a child. This brand- new educational facility is a critical step forward, long- awaited and much- needed, that will immensely impact the learning experience of the students on Jost Van Dyke. It is a beacon of hope, a symbol of progress, and a testament to our collective commitment to the dreams and aspirations of the people of this island.

In conclusion, let us celebrate not only the bricks and mortar but the boundless possibilities that this new chapter in education brings. May the Jost Van Dyke Primary School be a place where dreams take flight and where the seeds of knowledge blossom into a brighter future for all.

Thank you, and may this school be a source of pride and inspiration for generations to come.