Angry parents of students attending the defunct Couva West Secondary School are demanding that an immediate solution be found to house students.
Parents demonstrated outside the school at Baliser Street on Thursday, after a meeting with Education Minister Anthony Garcia flopped when the minister failed to show.
Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh told Guardian Media roughly 250 parents, members of the PTA executive, TTUTA members, teachers and officials from the Ministry of Education gathered for a meeting at the Ministry of Education’s sub-offices, on the compound of the old Couva Junior Secondary School around 4.30 pm.
Indarsingh said around 4.50 pm it was announced that Garcia would not be coming. Parents started an uproar, demanding Garcia and the school to be reopened.
“I am calling on the minister to display some kind of common sense and immediately refurbish the Old Couva Junior Secondary School and house the students and teachers,” the Couva South MP stated.
It was after 5 pm that the meeting was squashed and parents started walking outside, making their way further down the street toward the Couva West Secondary School, where they demonstrated and held a media conference.
An angry Vincent Boyce said classes have been stopped since October 2019. Boyce, who has a daughter attending the school, said Couva West Secondary has been plagued with problems since 2013. He said the Ministry has accused the students and parents of sabotage, and noted that the plethora of problems include mould, faulty plumbing, and faulty air-conditioning units.
Boyce said his last child, who attended the school, failed three CXC subjects. He told Guardian Media he was disappointed over Minister Garcia’s failure to show.
“He supposed to be in the meeting and he cyar come. You was a wood working teacher! You were a teacher. You have children,” he said. “The children of T&T who are in Couva West have a right to education because we pay taxes. We are nationals of T&T.”
Boyce said the parents have had it.
Sheldon Wilkinson, another parent, said the 720 students attending the school should have make-up classes during the school holidays.
Rohan Persad, another parent, said the government should send students to various private secondary schools in Central Trinidad. Persad stated that it was unfair that millions of dollars were being used to renovate edifices as the Prime Minister Residence, the Red House and the President’s House, which he said are no value to the simple man in hard economic times.
A female parent who wished not to be identified said the old Couva Junior Secondary School building is being underutilized and can be used to house classes, instead of having contractors attempt to fix the new school at the cost of millions of dollars.
Story and photos by SHASTRI BOODAN