On Monday, dissatisfied parents held a demonstration in front the school’s compound on the Eastern Main Road, Arouca, calling on the Ministry of Education to intervene and get the problems solved.
According to the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) several letters have been delivered to the Ministry of Education requesting help to restore the electrical work at the school.
PTA president Ornella Ramsook told Newsday an Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) officer visited the school last week, and wrote to the Ministry asking for an improvement and an upgrade of the school.
“We were told that by this Thursday the Ministry of Education will let us know something. Come Thursday and we do not get a response in some positive way, parents are going to be back out next week to do another demonstration,” Ramsook said.
She said for the past three years they were experiencing electrical problems at the school, and indicated that a contractor was assigned to the school but stopped the work due to non-payment by Government.
“Since 2013 we have been experiencing difficulties with the electrical system, different stuff has happened, such as shortages, the panel boxes have burnt, we have witnessed sparking of the wires.” She continued, “Earlier on this year the Ministry sent over a contractor via EFCL to us.They came into the school and put down a transformer and also ran some cables.Just as the work started, the work stopped.” Yesterday, Education Minister Anthony Garcia lamented that he had absolutely no information from the Anglican Board of the need for any upgrade at that school and wants to enter into discussion with the Board to rectify the problem.
“I was taken by surprise over the protest by parents. If it was brought to our attention to date, I would have made sure that the issue would have been attended to. We will dispatch a contractor but I will have discussion with the Anglican Board because since they own the school we cannot do anything unless we have an agreement with the Board,” Garcia said.
When asked about payment to the assigned contractor, Garcia said, “I am not aware of that, what I know is that situation did not come to my attention, and before we can do anything at the school we must have the agreement of the Board,” Garcia said.
Meanwhile, the Arouca Government Primary School also had similar problems where a fire broke out on the school’s compound and students had to be evacuated on September 14.
When asked if all repairs were completed at the Arouca Government Primary school, Garcia said, “I am very surprised, and a little angry over the fact that we have recurrence of the problem, because the contractor was supposed to have done a good job. That school was not on the list for repairs because they got an electrical upgrade since December last year, and the information we got stated that everything was all right with the school.” Garcia said the upgrade at the school lasted a few weeks because the children were out of the school for an extended period, a contractor was appointed and they did a total re-wiring of the school at a considerable cost.
He said they worked on 177 schools in which 210 projects were dealt with and the ministry worked diligently to ensure that all these schools were ready to open their doors when schools reopened on September 8.