The Cabinet is to get a preliminary estimate of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy when it meets tomorrow.
But preliminary indications are that the already cash-strapped Portia Simpson Miller administration will have to find billions of dollars it did not budget for to repair the damage caused by the weather system that walked across the island as a Category One hurricane.Checks by The Sunday Gleaner show severe damage to roads and buildings in the eastern parishes, an almost total wipeout of the banana industry, a cruel blow to coffee farmers and major devastation of public utilities in some parishes.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites and his team will have to find some $120 million to effect repairs to schools damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and that figure could rise significantly.
"Right now, the $120 million is the estimate, but we do not have the figure from CASE (College of Agriculture, Science and Education), which suffered significant damage," Thwaites yesterday told The Sunday Gleaner.
"We have figured some money to repair case in that estimate, but I won't have the full repair bill from CASE until Monday or Tuesday evening," added Thwaites.
The Portland-based college reported extensive damage in the aftermath of Sandy with buildings damaged and other infrastructure severely impacted.
In the meantime, Thwaites said he expects most schools to be able to resume classes tomorrow.
"I know that Buff Bay Primary (in Portland) will not open its doors, while Donald Quarrie High School (in St Andrew), which was badly damaged, will have a partial reopening," said Thwaites.
"Calabar High School (in St Andrew) will not be able to open its science lab, while some other schools will have classrooms or blocks where the roofs were damaged."
The education ministry last week closed all schools on Wednesday as Sandy made its way across the island and kept them shut on Thursday.
Last Friday, schools in Clarendon, St James, St Elizabeth, Hanover, Westmoreland, St Catherine and Manchester were scheduled to resume classes, but many children stayed away.
In Kingston, St Andrew, St Thomas, St Mary, St Ann and Trelawny, schools were kept closed last Friday mainly because of uncertainty with the supply of water and electricity.