West Bay West candidate Mario Ebanks: Integrate public school system

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West Bay West candidate Mario Ebanks said public school schools should be integrated by allowing non-Caymanians to attend.

Ebanks appeared on the Cayman Crosstalk radio show on Monday. His opponent, incumbent McKeeva Bush, declined to attend.

(Watch the show here.)

“We should integrate public schools so that non-Caymanians can also have an opportunity to go to public school because if you have a mixing of people, who are going to eventually be Caymanians anyhow, let them cross-pollinate, mix and learn to live together and work together, and share skills and maybe upgrade the quality of education,” Ebanks said. “Integration of the public schools is something I support as well.”

Asked how the system could accommodate non-Caymanians since schools are near capacity, Ebanks said that was the government’s reason for enacting the segregation policy in the first place.

However, he said in West Bay, there is a large, cleared and filled area of land behind Sir John A. Cumber Primary School that could be used for school development.

“We need to have more schools,” Ebanks said.

He also proposed the idea of having a morning/evening shift system, where students use a school from say 8am-2pm, and then others use it from 3pm-7pm or 8pm.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” he said.

A Cayman Current analysis of school capacity shows that Grand Cayman’s two public secondary schools are at more than 90% capacity and only have room to admit fewer than 200 students.

There is more capacity in primary schools, however. John Cumber is currently at 67% capacity and has room for 250 more students.

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