Former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh yesterday rejected an argument from La Brea MP Nicole Olivierre that a bullying incident at the Siparia West Secondary School was connected to the removal of corporal punishment from secondary schools under a former United National Congress (UNC) administration. Responding to Olivierre during the budget debate in the House of Representatives, Gopeesingh said the removal of corporal punishment was due to TT becoming a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Caroni East MP further stated the former People’s Partnership government exercised zero tolerance on indiscipline, bullying and indiscipline in schools. Gopeesingh said this was evident in measures such as the appointment of local school boards, security scanners in schools and increasing the Education Ministry’s student support services division. He also claimed that some 400 homework centres were closed under the People’s National Movement (PNM). Education Minister Anthony Garcia told Gopeesingh those centres were closed in May 2010 under the PP.
Gopeesingh also alleged there was bid-rigging at the Education Facilities Company Limited and that a relative of a government minister was involved in a company that was conducting audits for the Government. Later in the sitting, Chaguanas East MP Fazal Karim claimed the PNM was discriminating against the Aviation Academy in Couva by not providing it with any funding.