- August 6, 2015
The Mayor of Szyrwinty region belayed the construction of a canteen for a Polish school
In the Szyrwinty region, not every student will be able to eat in a light and spacious school canteen. That is the decision of this small region’s council headed by the Mayor Živilė Pinskuvien.
On the Mayor’s initiative, on 23rd July this year the council, which is controlled by the representatives of the Labour Party (to which the Mayor also belongs), accepted an absurd decision to belay the construction works of an annex-canteen in the Lithuanian-Polish Elementary School in Borskuny.
The decision is also odd because the previous council (when the Labour Party was in opposition) during two voting processes on 31st October 2013 and 29th January 2015 (19 councillors out of 21) supported the project called “Building new halls of the Elementary School in Borskuny”.
It is worth mentioning that the school in Borskuny has been functioning since 1964 and it never got the attention it deserved from the municipality it belongs to. There has never been a renovation made in the school.
The school was being renewed at the costs of the students’ parents and the sponsors from Poland: the walls of the classrooms were painted, the desks were renewed, the roof was fixed, and the windows were replace for new, plastic ones. And this is one of the biggest elementary schools in the Szyrwinty region to which 83 students are attending.
Through 50 years the school did not and still does not have a gym, an assembly hall, a decent pitch, a canteen. Students used to eat in a poor-looking 14-square-metres room to which they had to go through the schoolyard in a sunny May, rainy October, and frosty February.
It is then not difficult to understand the children and parents’ happiness about the news from the Szyrwinty region municipality of which they heard after the January’s decision of the councillors to build a canteen.
To build the canteen, it was decided to borrow 650 thousand litas (over 188 thousand euro). Total building costs were supposed to be taken by the municipality.
Change of the direction
After winning the second round of direct Mayoral elections in June this year, Živilė Pinskuvienė started to, what many people think, behave strange. One of such puzzling moves was belaying the municipality’s decision to build the canteen in Borskuny. The arguments are unbelievable. An exaggerative investment, a project from outer space, etc. This opinion was made by the municipality’s specialists (including the municipality controller Audronė Adomavičienė) who voted for starting building the canteen only a few years back. (More about this issue in the article of a local periodical belonging to the Mayor in one hundred percent). As we have mentioned above, the ruling coalition of the Szyrwinty council voted for belaying and maintaining the process of building a canteen. Even though half of the job is already done, and almost half of the project’s funding is paid.
The Borskuny community was in turmoil. People were outraged because of treating their own children that way: We wonder if Mrs Živilė’s children eat in similar conditions? – they were asking.
Arriving with the repossession man
On 6th August outside the building of the school in Borskuny, the school community, teachers, councillors, the deputy to the Seymas from the Vilnius-Szyrwinty constituency, the Starosta of the AWPL party in Seymas Tamašunienė gathered. They were all waiting for the Mayor of the Szyrwinty region, hoping that they will be able to convince her to change her mind.
Živilė Pinskuvienė was unyielding – “the costs of the building process are excessive, the region will not manage to finance the building, let Mrs Rita use her position and find someone to finance the construction of the canteen”.
– It is the municipality’s duty to care for schools – the councillor Tamašunienė replied. You cannot stop the construction works halfway through, especially since half of the money devoted for the project has already been paid. No one will win by doing this, but someone may lose as the contractor, UAB “Eiresta”, will possibly sue the council’s decision, win the case, and get a large recompensation.
On top of that, Tamošunienė added, nobody but the municipality will not give you the money to build the canteen. Neither the Minsitry, nor the government since there is a division of allocated financial resources function in this country. She called the Mayor’s proposal for the councillor Tamošunienė an illogical one.
Both parents and teachers supported the outraged councillor: “We had so much hope in this annex. It would be 200 square metres including the first floor. And, please, look at how the children eat today (click to see the photo). And yes – it has been like that for half of the century. Moreover, we also wanted to make a small assembly hall there” – the vice-principal of the school Marian Bujnicki said.
Neither the councillor’s demands nor the parents’ begs made the new Mayor of the Szyrwinty region change her mind. A repossession man who arrived there inspected the status of the construction along with Živilė Pinskuvienė and the councillor Ritą Tamašunienė, and then the Mayor together with the repossession man belayed the construction works of the canteen. However, until 31st August, the contractor is allowed to finish the roof construction and to install the windows. After 31st August the building will start to run into ruin.
There is, however, a hope for a further, positive development of the situation as six of the opposition councillors from the Szyrwinty region, one of which is the AWPL councillor Rita Tamošiūnienė, announced an intervention in the General Prosecutor’s Office with a proceeding about the protection of the public interest.
Translated by Anna Plebanek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.