COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh is calling on Education Minister Anthony Garcia to apologise for claiming sabotage had led to the closure of several schools, including Balmain Presbyterian, accusing him of being reckless.
At a news conference on Monday, Garcia suggested that the damage to sewer systems at several schools was deliberate. He produced photographs, taken by the contractor who repaired the system at Balmain, which showed strange items removed from the sewer, including rocks, bottles, books, clothes and feminine hygiene products.
Yesterday, Indarsingh who had been advocating for the repair of the sewer and reopening of the school, which was closed for three weeks until Monday, hit back at Garcia and called on him to provide evidence and have the perpetrators arrested and charged.
“To say that it is sabotage is reckless, it reeks of insensitivity and arrogance. To say it is deliberate was done to mask or deflect from his incompetence and that of his ministry and the Education Facilities Company Ltd.
“Who is the minister saying sabotaged the school? Is it the principal? Is it the teaching or non-teaching staff? Is it the PTA or the parents or the 354 hard-working and committed children who attend that school on a daily basis?
“Children want to learn. They have Secondary Entrance Assessment exam around the corner. This is a school which does not have a disciplinary problem, and I think the minister should apologise and not be insensitive and rude to the constituents of Couva South.”
He said quite a few schools in opposition constituencies are closed and not all for reasons of malfunctioning sewers. Pointing to Carapichaima East Primary, which has not opened for the term because of a pigeon infestation, Indarsingh wondered “if the minister was under the impression UNC operatives would have taken the pigeons and left them there.”
President of the Unified Teachers Association Lynsley Doodhai also called on Garcia to identify the culprits, saying this theory contradicts his statement in Parliament last Friday that schools had adequate security arrangements.
Doodhai blamed poor maintenance for the problems.
Indarsingh accused the ruling People’s National Movement administration of hiding behind the word “sabotage” to mask its own incompetence, recalling the same description was used when pressure started to mount after the superfast Galicia was taken off the functioning sea bridge and when the toilets overflowed at the opening of the Brian Lara Stadium.
“Yet nobody has been held accountable for these acts of sabotage. When they cannot deliver they cry foul.“