Speaking at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, Gopeesingh said that contractors involved in school construction/rehabilitation programme, are working double shift during the day to ensure completion of these projects. “So it will not affect the school construction programme,” he said.
At present the ministry is engaged in 236 construction/rehabilitation projects. The limited state of emergency should not affect children and teachers as school reopens at the end of the 15 day curfew.
Even if it is extended it should not affect classes as they begin at 8 am and finish at 3 pm, he noted. Asked about any negative effect the curfew would have on children who are now on vacation, Gopeesingh said it should have a positive effect on them.
Murders have had psychological impact on a number of children whose relatives were killed due to criminal activities, he said.
On Monday, he said, school supervisors were indicating to him the need for counselling and intervention by the Student Support Services in a number of schools. He said, “there were 37 ‘high risk’ schools, eleven of which are ‘very high risk’. So the impact of the criminal activity has really gone badly on students in certain schools.”
Even before the introduction of the curfew, he said Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs had the police service increase patrols around schools in high risk areas on mornings and in the afternoons during school days. Parents and students are among the general community, who feel a state of relief that government has moved to stem the wave of criminal activities, he said.