Call for quiet zone near schools at Richmond Hill
September 11, 2009
Call for quiet zone near schools at Richmond Hill

The idea that the Richmond Hill school district should be converted into a quiet zone has been welcomed by the majority of stakeholders who are located in the densely populated area.{{more}}

Concerns about the distractions caused by traffic between the Girls’ High School and the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Unit were raised during the orientation exercise for first formers at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School recently.

The area is home to two primary and four secondary schools, the University of the West Indies Open Campus, the Peace Memorial Hall, Vinsave pre-school, The Ministry of Agriculture, the National Archives and Documentation Centre, the soon to be opened National Library and other institutions.

Principal of the Thomas Saunders Secondary School John Renton indicated that he had raised the issue with traffic officials in the past, but had not made any official requests to have the area declared a quiet zone.

The principal identified the loud roar of engines as vehicles move into and out of Kingstown as the greatest concern, with loud music and the blowing of horns as secondary but important issues.

Also sharing Renton’s sentiments to some extent are the persons at the helms of the St. Vincent Grammar School and the Girls’ High School (GHS). GHS Headmistress Andrea Bowman said she considers the implementation of a quiet zone an excellent idea which would lessen the distractions that the students face on a daily basis. She indicated that in the past, teachers have had to stop instruction until the distractions ceased.

However, she questioned the success in applying such a rule, seeing that the road is a main route to and from the capital.

A few suggestions by Headmaster of the St. Vincent Grammar School Frank Jones include the rerouting of some vehicles during school hours, and that officials restrict the use of horns in the zone and tighten up on regulations on mini buses. Jones stated that however the rules are laid down, they would be fully embraced by him and his faculty.

The headmaster also used the opportunity to raise another concern that affects the area. He noted that the congregation of students at bus stops in the area at the end of the school day creates a situation where ‘undesirable activity’ takes place, and called for police monitoring of the area to reduce or eradicate fights and injuries to students.

Director of Planning in the Central Planning Unit Anthony Bowman, who has a part to play in the implementation of any such regulation, indicated that the idea of a quiet zone in the area, as well as in the vicinity of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, is something that has been looked at in the past; but to date there are no regulations in place.

Bowman said that a policy directive from any ministry, or a decree from the country’s Attorney General would ensure that these quiet zones are implemented.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer Susan Dougan said that she would react positively to any request by the relevant

parties for these areas to be declared quiet zones, and that her ministry would work closely with the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force in enforcing these regulations.

She indicated that the vicinity around all schools, whether in capital Kingstown or in the suburbs and rural areas, should be quiet zones, and the necessary provisions should be made to see that this is so.

The new school year began on Monday, September 7, following the long summer holidays.