THE abandoned Sonny Ladoo Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centre is being used as a hideout for criminals who are terrorising residents of the area who are calling on Education Minister Anthony Garcia to open the school and save them.
The residents voiced their complaints at a meeting on Tuesday with their MP Rudranath Indarsingh and councillors from the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation – a stone’s throw away from the abandoned educational centre at Sonny Ladoo Trace, to speak out on crime and the state of their roads while questioning what their tax dollars were doing for them.
Residents told Indarsingh, in addition to murders in their district, home invasions and robberies had become common place. They said they were fed-up of attending town meetings with police who were only “mamaguying” them, encouraging them to make reports, assuring of quicker response times and calls for general partnership.
Yet, they said, every time there was an incident, the response time was slow, sometimes non-existent.
Indarsingh said the Sonny Ladoo ECCE school was a new building which required electrical connection and outfitting at a cost of $50,000 when the People’s Partnership left office.
“It has been left hanging since. I have written to the Minister of Education, I have placed it on the Order Paper as questions to the minister and he has simply indicated it will be opened when he gets the money.
“In the meantime, it has been vandalised, it is overgrown with bushes, criminals use it as a hideout to terrorise residents, with break-ins, car-jacking and home invasions in the Sonny Ladoo, Calcutta and Beaucarro area. I am deeply troubled over government’s refusal to open this centre, considering government presented three budgets to the tune of $150 billion in expenditure, went into the Heritage and Stabilisation fund, borrowed $20 billion from multi-lateral lending agencies and yet they cannot get $50,000 to get an electrical connection and open the school?”
He said if the school is to be reopened, it will cost much more because of the damage done to the building.
He also acknowledged that crime is a growing problem in the community, recalling that a 90-year-old woman was recently robbed during a home invasion. He said one man was also robbed of his Xtrail vehicle after a prayer service at a Masjid in Calcutta and another man was robbed of his vehicle at gunpoint, while waiting for a hair cut at a barber shop.
Indarsingh said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, in the Parliament some time ago, assured him joint army/police patrol were operating in the area. “I live in the area and have no evidence of that. The residents are calling for an all-out approach from the law enforcement agencies to protect them,” Indarsingh told the Newsday.