plans to visit: Tim Gopeesingh

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No school at Arima New Govt

...Parents protest dilapidated conditions

By Renuka Singh

Both Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh and D'Abadie/O'Meara MP Anil Roberts yesterday stepped in to end a stand-off between the Educations Facilities Co Ltd (EFCL) and the Arima Borough Corporation, which led parents to take almost 500 pupils out of the Arima New Government Primary School yesterday.

Parents kept their children away from classes yesterday in protest of the dilapidated conditions of the current school building. Parent Teacher Association president Nicole Sampson said yesterday while the students suffered in the rundown school, the newly constructed replacement school stood unused and unready just three streets away.

Sampson said the new Arima New Government Primary School was expected to be handed over on April 10, but an unconnected sewer line has stalled the process and the EFCL has been unable to rectify the problem and have been unable to access the Corporation's permission.

"And while they continue like this it is the children that are suffering," she said, adding that the parents originally planned to keep the pupils away from school until the new school was ready.

Roberts, in a telephone interview yesterday said he heard about the protest en route to his constitution office and stopped to deal with the situation.

"I spoke with the Mayor and the Minister of Education and we were able to fix the issue," he said.

Roberts said the Mayor's office did not have the approval from the structural engineer involved with the school's construction and that was stopping the EFCL from finalising the connection to the main sewer lines.

He said he spoke with the Ministry of Works and he was assured that they would start dealing with the Corporation and the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) to start remedying the situation. Gopeesingh said he spoke with Roberts and both planned to visit the school today.

"I was aware of the problem with the school and we are trying as fast as possible to fix the problems with the existing school," he said.

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