The Ministry of Education has been given an ultimatum to fix a perennial sewer problem at the Elswick Presbyterian School by next Monday, or face a barrage of protest by parents and students. The decision was taken by the school’s Parent Teachers Association (PTA) at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
A letter to that effect was drafted by the association’s PRO Nichelle Sookdeo and sent to acting Principal Judy Nathai and Education Minister Anthony Garcia, yesterday. The parent body of the Cap-de-Ville Government Primary school near Point Fortin which is experiencing similar sewer problems, is also contemplating their next move after dialogue and written complaints have failed to effect any kind of relief.
Sookdeo, in an interview said since the term started the student population, of approximately 100, had only two full days of school. She said the principal had been writing letters to the ministry and the school supervisors, informing them of the problem but it was not corrected.
“By September 11, a strong odour started emanating from the sewer and by 10 am, parents were called and asked to come and pick up their children. This has been happening for the past three weeks. I work in Port of Spain and I got to have someone on standby every day to pick up my son. This is ridiculous”, said Sookdeo, whose son is due to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam next March.
“The children, especially those who are preparing for SEA, have lost too much time already. They are being denied the basic right to an education. We are giving the minister up until Monday to address the root of the problem, or by Tuesday is protest. We don’t want them to come and just pump it out again. We want a permanent solution.”