COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh is calling on Education Minister Anthony Garcia to apologise to the people of Couva for accusing them of “sabotage,” or to produce the evidence
Indarsingh said Garcia must apologise “for his most misleading statements with regards to the ongoing closure of the Couva West Secondary School, which has been occurring on a daily basis since the schools reopened after the July/August vacation.”
During a media briefing on Tuesday Garcia expressed suspicion about the continual leaks at the school which have kept children away. He said an investigation had been launched to determine if this was due to sabotage.
“Sabotage by whom and for what reason?” Indarsingh asked yesterday.
“I will not allow any minister of the Keith Rowley-led PNM administration to attack the integrity of the parents and people of Couva to mask their own managerial inadequacies.”
Garcia blamed the recurrent water leaks at the school on slipshod workmanship and/or sabotage, saying as soon as the leaks are repaired, something else happens.
“The minister must produce the technical report that can substantiate his claims,” Indarsingh demanded.
He found it strange that other schools close to Couva West – Couva East Secondary, Exchange Presbyterian Primary, Couva South Government Primary, Couva Anglican Primary and Exchange RC Primary – all have good water pressure.
“For Garcia to insinuate that the pipes at Couva West Secondary are leaking due to the PSI (pressure per square inch) from the Water and Sewerage Authority is absolutely ludicrous and unacceptable. If this was the case, then why is it confined only to one school?”
Indarsingh said the pipes are all buried underground and if a proper inspection had been carried out during the vacation, it would have revealed problems with the ageing plumbing system.
“Garcia is now offering excuses, rather than reasons, for his ministry's and his own tardiness in dealing with this problem, and has resorted instead to speaking about slipshod workmanship and/or sabotage.”
He said sabotage has become this minister’s regular mantra, recalling in March, when confronted with the closure of the Balmain Presbyterian School due to the malfunctioning of the sewer system, Garcia also labelled the damage deliberate.
“The narrative of 'sabotage' seems to be the easy way out for this government. The government also used that term to describe the shoddy workmanship at the PNM’s prize vanity project – the Brian Lara Stadium.”
He called on Garcia to stop the "excessive politicking" and understand the very important role of his ministry.
President of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai also called on Garcia to identify the culprits, saying this theory contradicts Garcia's statement in Parliament that schools had adequate security arrangements.
Doodhai blamed the problems on poor maintenance.