Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 5th 2014 Contents A11
Wednesday, November 5, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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The management of two private schools and the
state agencies opposed to their proposed move to
Maraval should find an amicable solution to the ongo-
ing impasse which has kept over 200 children away
from school for two months.
Three Appeal Court judges made the suggestion on
Monday as they reinstated an injunction which has
barred the schools from opening on Long Circular
Road, Maraval, since the start of the term in early Sep-
"Surely this is a matter in which no hardset position
should be taken by either side. All parties should
consider coming to a table with open hearts and minds
to find a solution," Justice Peter Jamadar said.
The appeal panel, which also included Chief Justice
Ivor Archie and Appellate Judge Maureen Rajnauth-
Lee, gave the advice after Christopher Hamel-Smith,
SC, delivered a stirring plea on behalf of the parents
and students of the Arbor and Rosewood Schools.
"Put yourself in the shoes of the parents and children.
The schools will cease to exist," Hamel-Smith said,
arguing that the injunction effectively denied the stu-
dents their fundamental human and constitutional
rights to education.
Despite Hamel-Smith s emotional speech, which
drew tears from school stakeholders seated in the court,
the Appeal Court said High Court judge Devindra
Rampersad was wrong to discharge the injunction he
granted on September 10.
In a brief oral decision, Archie said Rampersad failed
to balance properly the concern over the continued
closure of the schools with the need to uphold the
statutory planning approval requirements of the state
He said Rampersad had failed to consider all the requirements he had set for the discharge of the injunc-
tion before he made his decision.
Archie also questioned Hamel-Smith s claim that
parents could not find alternative schools if the injunc-
tion was reinstated.
"Do you mean to say that there is no space for them
in any school in Trinidad?" he asked.
In his closing remarks Archie expressed optimism
that if mediation between the parties did not materialise,
the substantive issues would still be quickly resolved
by Rampersad, as an expedited trial of the case in
March next year had already been approved.
The Town and Country Planning Division and the
Ministry of Education were represented by Senior
Counsel Alvin Fitzpatrick and attorney Larry Lalla.
Douglas Mendes, SC, and Stuart Young represented
the Diego Martin Regional Corporation.
Mediation option for
closed Maraval schools
Appeal Court reinstates injunction
About the schools
The schools, founded in 2008 and 2010, require
parents to make an $8,000 contribution to a capital
fund, in addition to over $15,000 in annual school fees.
Arbor is a kindergarten and Rosewood a primary and
secondary school for girls.
The joint student population is estimated at 220, in
addition to 30 teachers.
Edfam also runs Trimont College, a primary and
secondary school for boys in Glencoe.
The controversy over the relocation first arose in
August, when Edfam, the non-profit company which
runs the schools, announced its plans to move from a
rented property in St Clair.
Residents of lower Maraval banded together to
oppose the plan, saying it would exacerbate already dire
traffic conditions in the area on mornings and evenings.
The Diego Martin Regional Corporation took up their
cause and issued two stop orders, saying Edfam had
failed to obtain planning permission from the
corporation, the Town and Country Planning Division
and the Ministry of Education.
On September 10, the corporation obtained the
injunction from Rampersad, who stipulated that it could
be discharged if Edfam filed the necessary applications
and revised its traffic plan.
During yesterday's appeal, Edfam's lawyers
submitted that the school had already lodged planning
approval application and was allowed to operate for six
months before approval from the Education Ministry
However, they admitted the revised traffic plan,
which included proposals to use buses, was twice
rejected by the Highway Division. They also conceded
that the corporation's chief engineer inspected the
building, which previously housed a restaurant, and
failed it as being unsuitable for a school.
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