Member of Parliament for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh is today calling on Education Minister Anthony Garcia to move with dispatch to have the sewer system at the Balmain Presbyterian School repaired as a matter of urgency.
The School was closed last Friday after a decision was taken by teachers to walk off the premises with their students because of a cesspit overflow which presented an immediate threat to their health and safety.
Indarsingh indicated that last Friday, he personally spoke with Minister Garcia in Parliament and asked for his intervention in resolving this issue. He said that the Minister promised to have the matter attended to.
Five days later, the school, which has an enrollment of 354 students and 15 teachers, remains close and no work has been done to this overflowing sewer system.
The MP said that not only is the Minister aware of the situation but so too are officials of the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL), the Head of the Caroni Education Division as well as the National Parent Teachers’ Association.
Indarsingh pointed out that this is a very crucial time in the Education school year, especially for those students who are preparing to sit the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) in a couple months time.
Indarsingh questioned the priorities of the Keith Rowley-led PNM Government, saying that after three budgets of over $166.9B, after a draw-down from the Heritage and Stabilization Fund and after borrowing of over $20 Billion, the students and teachers of Balmain Presbyterian School have to abandon their place of learning and comfort because of an overflowing sewer system.
Shouldn’t the education and facilities of our most precious resources be one of our Government’s sacred duty?
Instead, Indarsingh said the Rowley-led PNM Administration continues to channel our limited resources to pie-in-the-sky and vanity projects like a $400M Highway to Manzanilla, $90M for completion of the Brian Lara Stadium, $3M for paintings, $16M for a Lobbyist in Washington, $4.5M swimming pool for Laventille, paying $600M for 50 ambulances, a “grant” to the Trade Unions of $15M, the Massy Communications “deal” of $225M, the Tourism Minister’s cellphone “roaming” charges of $59K and the Sport Minister Tobago weekend-getaway of $92K, the Balmain Presbyterian School remains closed and our children have to suffer for what is estimated to be urgent repairs costing under $100K for an overflowing sewer system.
Indarsingh said that with just seven weeks into this school term, the Minister of Education must answer just what type of preventative and general maintenance schedule has his Ministry and EFCL put in place for the nation’s schools.
Indarsingh reiterated that the Rowley-led Government needs to understand that what is required is a significant deep investment in the quality of our schools and its facilities and not a situation where every week teachers and students are forced to abandon classes.
Our health and education sectors, national security and so many other institutions of State are just collapsing because of an absence of leadership.