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Bendals Quarry causes concern - again

Antigua Sun, 16 May 2000

It appears as if the Bendals Quarry, operated by C. O. Williams, has reneged on an agreement it made with the Ministry of Education and the Antigua & Barbuda Union of Teachers. The agreement stated that the company will not be operated during school hours. The on-going dispute goes back to last year when the A&BUT took a decision to close the doors of the school after teachers and students complained about the constant inhalation of dust, which they claim affects their health.

A decision was made that the school would operate from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. after which the quarry would begin its operation. But this was not the case last Friday and yesterday. Students were sent home after the quarry began operating during school hours, spewing huge clouds of dust into the air.

One parent, who contacted The SUN, stated that her 10-year-old daughter, who will be sitting the Common Entrance Examinations in June, has been complaining about her eyesight.

"I had to take her to an eye specialist yesterday afternoon to see what was wrong with her eyes. Our children are being robbed of their education," the parent said.

She noted that the Ministry of Education had promised to send the students to a medical practitioner, but has failed to keep its promise thus far.

The Ministry of Education, earlier this year, hired the services of medical practitioner Dr. Prince Ramsey to carry out examinations on teachers of the Bendals School.

The teachers have been complaining about frequent skin rashes and respiratory problems, which they attribute to the inhalation of dust.