Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 6th 2014 Contents RHONDOR DOWLAT
Two incidents at secondary schools over
the last 72 hours have again thrust the
issue of gang violence into the media glare
and the Ministry of Education, T&T Uni-
fied Teachers Association (TTUTA), and
National Parents Teachers Association
(NPTA) seeking answers to the disturbing
In the first incident, an eight-member
girl gang at the Carapichaima West Sec-
ondary School allegedly turned their anger
on a teacher on Tuesday after she attempted
to part a fight in which they were involved.
The T&T Guardian was told the attack
occurred shortly after 12 noon in the school s
hall. The girl gang reportedly picked another
student at random and began beating her.
After other school officials tried unsuc-
cessfully to stop the fight, the teacher inter-
vened and was reportedly slapped several
times. The stunned teacher eventually left
the area and the girls continued beating
their victim before the fight died down and
On Tuesday there were about six fights
at the school, a school official confirmed.
One pupil gave an account of what tran-
spired that day: "The hall was filled with
children screaming, shouting and cheering
on the girls that were fighting. It was so
"The MTS security guard, a woman, tried
to part the fight but then she walked away
maybe because she was afraid. Even the
teacher and another school official tried to
part the fight but were struck by the fighting
"The librarian was selling poppies at the
time of one of the fights and the children
knocked down one of the blackboards. I
was so frightened that I ran away to a safe
The pupil said there were rumours that
two of the fighting girls sustained sprains
and bruises during the melee.
"I heard that one of them, their hand
broke, but I am not sure. The girls in the
gang walk around and pull random pupils
and beat them up just so.
"We don t see the police coming in so
we think that the teachers not even report-
ing it to the police. We are scared and don t
know if we are safe here anymore."
Some students are reportedly now afraid
to go to school because fights are increasing
daily and they are constantly being bullied
by the all-girl gang.
The members of the girl gang are said
to be in Form Five and wear improper uni-
forms, including a shorter version of the
red and blue plaid skirt, and sometimes
refuse to wear the navy blue tie and belts
around their waists.
Some of the male students at the school
also allegedly sell marijuana on the com-
Contacted yesterday, principal Phyllis
Lutchman denied the incident occurred.
Pressed further, she said she was not at
liberty to speak to the media and directed
all queries to the communications unit at
the Education Ministry.
Also contacted for comment, National
Parents Teachers Association president
Zena Ramatali said she was trying to con-
tact the secretary of the region to find out
whether reports of such violence were
She also called on supervisors at the
ministry to look into the school s admin-
istration in an attempt to bring some sort
She asked: "We definitely have to look
at putting measures in place, in terms of
the pupils. Why are they engaging in fights
in the school? Where are the teachers?
"What programmes are the school put-
ting in place to help these children, who
surely have social problems," she added.
Ramatali even suggested that schools
throughout the country be upgraded with
security monitoring and surveillance units.
"This would enable us to see what s
happening in our schools and allow us to
deal with it accordingly," she said.
Couva North MP Ramona Ramdial said
she was unaware of any specific incident
at the school but promised to see if she
could assist in any way possible.
Also yesterday, students at the Tran-
quility Government Secondary School
damaged a teacher s car after they threw
a scratch bomb at it.
When the device exploded the Nissan
Almera s back glass was shattered. It was
allegedly done by a student who was part
of a group who were setting off the scratch
bombs throughout the day.
One school official said the students
have promised to continue the activity
Efforts to contact Education Minister
Dr Tim Gopeesingh for comment on both
incidents were unsuccessful yesterday as
calls to his cellphone went unanswered.
He had earlier attended a meeting with
stakeholders in Couva but the issue of vio-
lence in schools was not seriously raised.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
POST YOUR VIEWS ON ANY OF TODAY'S STORIES @ WWW.GUARDIAN.CO.TT
Two Trinidadians had a brush with the law in
India earlier this week, after they were suspected
of attempting to hatch a jailbreak in Ajmeer,
Cousins Mariel and Amanda Sabga, in India to
attend the wedding of a friend they met at university,
were initially questioned by police after the hot air
balloon carrying them landed in the middle of a
prison on Tuesday, sparking a major security alert,
Sky News reported.
Authorities in the prison had feared the balloon s
occupants were trying to rescue inmates when they
saw it approaching, since the area is a high security
zone. As such, they had already confined all the
inmates to their barracks by the time it landed.
The women boarded the balloon in Pushkar to
get an aerial view of the region s famous annual
animal fair. But pilot Dhawal Kedar lost control in
high winds and ended up having to force a landing
inside the jail after he crossed security lines.
The Sabgas and the pilot were questioned for
nearly two hours until the police
were convinced the incident was an accident.
The policemen, the women said, were polite and
All hot air balloon rides over the fair were cancelled
as a result of the incident. A case has also been
filed against the tour operator for "unlawful entry"
into the jail and their licences were revoked.
The cousins yesterday opted for a safer and
uneventful ride on an elephant.
Thursday, November 6, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Girl gang has students living in fear
Trinis in security
scare at India jail
for parting fight
Cousins Mariel, left, and Amanda Sabga strike a
pose during their hot air balloon ride over
Rajasthan, India, on Tuesday. The balloon crash
landed moments later in a nearby jail.
Education Minister Dr Tim Goopeesingh, right, speaks with Chief Educational Officer
Harrilal Seecharan during a stakeholders meeting between the ministry and members of
local school boards at the Nation Energy Skills Centre (NESC) in Couva yesterday. PHOTO:
KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Links Archive November 5th 2014 November 7th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page