Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rodney Charles condemns school repairs statement by Education Minister

…no work done at Fifth Company Baptist School, says Charles

The Fifth Company Baptist School shows visible signs of disrepair with a series of damaged windows.

MEMBER of Parliament for Naparima Rodney Charles has condemned a statement made in Parliament by Education minister Anthony Garcia with regards to repairs that would be carried out on some of the nation's schools during the July-August vacation period.

Charles said that based on a site visit on Monday there were no visible signs of work being carried out by the Fifth Company Baptist School.

He said: “In response to a question posed on June 28 by Oropouche West MP Vidia Gayadeen-Gopeesingh, Minister Garcia informed the Parliament that rehabilitation work at the Fifth Company Baptist School would be done during the July/August vacation. He stressed that the focus will be on repairs to toilets, replacement of windows and burglar proofing, as well as the improvement and strengthening of hand rails and the protective metal enclosures on stairwells. Added to that, the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) assured the nation last Friday (Aug 18) that school repairs are being done and that 'the most critical works are being done first'. However, as of Monday (Aug 21), based on a site visit, there are no visible signs of work, critical or otherwise, having been done during this vacation period at the Fifth Company Baptist School. Additionally, there is also no electricity in the guard booth.”

Charles said what is even worse is that the school is situated in the constituency of Moruga/Tableland, which ironically is the constituency of Minister in the Ministry of Education Dr. Lovell Francis.

“Additionally, the Cowen Hamilton Secondary School, which is the only Baptist secondary school in the country and which is also in the constituency of Moruga/Tableland, remains without a dedicated auditorium, gymnasium, modern computer room, or a well-equipped permanent library, and students have to assemble out in the rain,” Charles said.

He said over 100 students from his constituency attend Cowen Hamilton Secondary School.

“The statement by Minister Garcia was nothing short of misleading the Parliament and the country, and I'm calling on him and his junior minister to come clean on the state of school repairs”, said the Naparima MP.

Charles also condemned Garcia for the delay in getting the proposed Barrackpore ASJA Primary School off the ground.
“After giving the assurance in Parliament on January 20 last year that the school would be completed within 10 months, that project remains a non-starter. As my colleague and MP for Caroni East Dr. Tim Gopeesingh noted, Minister Garcia's statements on these issues are worthless and insincere as we have the very real examples of Fifth Company Baptist, Cowen Hamilton and Barrackpore ASJA Primary as proof,” Charles said.