San Fernando East Member of Parliament Patrick Manning has been given the assurance that rehabilitation work at Pleasantville Secondary School will be fast-tracked, allowing pupils to return to classes in the next two weeks.
This according to Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, who confirmed that he received a telephone call from Manning three weeks ago.
Manning expressed concern that the school, located in his constituency, had not been opened since the new school term began in September.
“I spoke to Mr Manning and gave him the assurance that we will work as fast as possible. Mr Manning called me about three weeks ago and I had a nice discussion with him about this. I promised to work as fast as possible to get this situation resolved and the school which has been left in ruins and dilapidation will be completed,” Gopeesingh said.
Gopeesingh was speaking to the media following the formal opening of the newly-built Lengua Presbyterian Primary School in Barrackpore yesterday.
Gopeesingh said the People’s Partnership Government inherited a disaster at the Pleasantville Seconadary School.
“There was a contractor who was given that job and the job was not progressing. This is what we inherited from the previous administration. I think the contractor had to be terminated for a number of reasons and the whole situation became a legal problem. So we had to disentangle a legal situation with Pleasantville Secondary,” he said.
Gopeesingh said the Education Facilities Co Ltd (EFCL) has been instructed to move as quickly as possible.
“In one area there is just the electrical work to be completed. The electrical work at the school will cost approximately $9 million. We inherited a nightmare, but we are trying to work as quickly as possible to ensure that the pupils and teachers continue to be in the education process. I am personally looking after it,” he said.
Gopeesingh said he was aware that teachers were working with pupils online.
Parents of pupils attending the Pleasantville Secondary School have planned a placard demonstration outside the Ministry of Education in Port of Spain this morning.
“Parents have rights. As Minister of Education, I promise and pledge support to getting the school repaired. We hope not to take more than two weeks,” Gopeesingh said.
He said 229 schools were repaired during the July/August vacation at a cost of $1.1 million. “We have had difficulties with some of the work and we are working as fast as we can,” he said.
The Lengua Presbyterian Primary School was completed at a cost of $28 million in 2012.
The new building is being occupied by pupils of the Lengua Presbyterian and Kanhai Road Presbyterian schools. The Kanhai Road Presbyterian School, which is being constructed, is expected to be completed in six months.
Pupils of the Lengua Presbyterian School had occupied the nearby Inverness Presbyterian School for six years.