PENAL residents played a game of cat and mouse with Southwestern Division police, on Friday, burning debris in the road only to have police extinguish the fires. This “game” continued for several hours along Penal Rock Road, Latchoos Road and Oliviere Drive.
The residents are calling on the authorities to build a new school for students of St Dominic’s RC School. The existing building at Oliviere Drive is dilapidated and poses a threat to their health and safety. The 220-plus students are housed nearby at the St Dominic’s RC Parish Hall and the community centre.
From 4 am, police gathered in the streets where residents were burning debris.
“It seems police got wind about the protest and came out early. They even came with trucks to put the debris. Just a stone’s throw away someone murdered a woman and we did not see so much police there,” a protester said.
Resident Agatha Johnson-Beam said children are not receiving a proper education because of the inadequate accommodation.
“For more than a year these students are studying in congested rooms. As a community member I am frustrated about it. My children went that school.
“We had police working today: as they out one fire, residents set another,” Johnson-Beam said.
Last Monday the residents also protested, complaining that because classes are held at the community centre, it cannot be used for social gatherings or other educational activities. As they did last week, protesters also called for the David Williams Recreation Ground at Latchoos Road to be fixed, saying many people use the ground, which has no electricity supply and is in poor condition.
Education Ministry staff said they are aware of the problems at the school, but financial issues are preventing the immediate construction of a new one.