Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 2nd 2014 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 2, 2014
When school re-opens today, stu-
dents and teachers of the Pleasantville
Secondary School run the risk of con-
tracting the chikungunya virus and
dengue, as the school has become a
breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Among the other health and safety
hazards at the school are leaking ceil-
ings, rat and snake infestations and
Representatives of the school s Parent
Teachers Association (PTA) and T&T
Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA)
are now calling on Education Minister
Tim Gopeesingh to honour his promise
to repair the school.
During a tour of the school last Fri-
day, some areas surrounding the school
were overgrown with bushes and lit-
tered with bottles. Condemned sections
of the school were blocked off with
galvanise sheets and the buildings
T&T Guardian was told that only 35
to 40 per cent of the buildings in the
school were functional.
PTA president Clarence Mendoza
recalled that Gopeesingh and Education
Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) officials
visited the school in February and the
minister promised work would begin
However, he said during a meeting
with the minister on August 8, he was
told the cost of repairs was $90 million
and the ministry did not have the
Mendoza said the main issue was
the construction of the Technical Voca-
tional Education and Training Depart-
ment (Tech Voc), which consists of
two blocks. The department, which
consisted of two buildings separated
by a car park, was torn down in 2008.
The students were then relocated to a
galvanised makeshift building on the
netball court, where they are present-
ly.An official claimed the original build-
ings were fully functional and no reason
was given for them being demolished.
Mendoza said tenders were sent out
in June for the Tech Voc buildings, but
nothing has happened since.
"The teachers are disgruntled, the
parents are disgruntled and the stu-
dents are uncomfortable. We are asking
that work be started here. We are ask-
ing the minister step up and give us
a timeframe that we can work with."
Mendoza said teachers, students and
the wider community were also at risk
of contracting the chikungunya virus,
since there were about five trenches
at the incomplete Tech Voc building
with stagnant water up to four feet in
depth. One of the classrooms also has
about 18 inches of stagnant water.
Last year, parents kept their children
away and teachers refused to work
because of the same problems, but
Mendoza said the teachers and parents
will be at school today.
Unfinished project at Pleasantville Secondary
PTA wary of chikV outbreak
SEVERAL OSH ISSUES
TTUTA representative Navin
Ramai said, "We have been
operating under these conditions
for eight years to be exact. If you
look around you will see many
buildings are incomplete.
"This morning there were
teachers who were complaining
about hanging ceilings and fearful
for themselves and their charges.
We have neglect on a very large
The problems in the existing
makeshift Tech Voc building include
poor ventilation, leaking and
hanging ceilings, rat and snake
problems, exposed high voltage
electrical cables, faulty wiring,
dusty and clustered work areas.
The forms one and two are
currently being housed in prefab
buildings constructed on the
basketball court. There are no
changing rooms for physical
education students (PE) and no
ceiling in the auditorium.
Construction stopped on the Visual
and Performing Arts building in
2009, when it was 80 per cent
complete and it remains an eye
sore. The PE toilets and staffroom
building have also been
condemned, forcing alternative
accommodations for students and
Calls and an e-mail to the
communications officer Alicia
Busby went unanswered.
Several areas on the compound of Pleasantville Secondary School have become
breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
President of the
bushes at one of
during a tour of
the school last
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