Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 10th 2015 Contents SHARLENE RAMPERSAD
Clutching a flyer of her missing daughter, grieving
mother Vicky Bhagwandass-Jaggan vowed to never stop
searching for her eldest child, as the family marks one
year today since Nicole Jaggan disappeared.
The T&T Guardian visited the family's home at Suchit
Trace, Penal, yesterday, and spoke to Bhagwandass-Jaggan
and her husband Prakash.
Nicole Jaggan, who is now 19 years old, went missing on
February 10, 2014, after leaving her home to attend classes
in San Fernando.
"We will never stop our search for her," said an emotional
Bhagwandass-Jaggan. "We will keep fasting and praying for
her safe return to us."
Bhagwandass-Jaggan, who has three other children, had
this message for her eldest child: "Nicole, if you are out
there, if you left on your own or if someone has you against
your will, we want you to know we will never stop looking.
We will never give up on you."
Her father, Prakash, echoed his wife's sentiments, adding:
"Nicole, if you are alright, please call us and if you can't
call, at least you will know we are still searching for you."
Bhagwandass-Jaggan said her family was slowly beginning
to piece their lives back together.
"I started to receive counselling a few months ago and
it has really helped me in putting my family back together.
The other children are doing better in school now but it
was really hard for most of last year."
Her 12-year-old son had to repeat Standard Five as he
did not perform well in his Secondary Entrance Assessment
exam in 2014.
"He will write the SEA again this year. His teachers are
working more closely with him and we are expecting him
to do better."
She said thoughts of Nicole still haunt her every night.
"I sleep a little better now but every night I still wonder
where she is, what she is doing and if she is alright."
Bhagwandass-Jaggan said her family was tormented for
months by calls from international numbers and from men
in prison asking them for thousands of dollars in return for
information on Nicole's whereabouts.
The callers claimed Nicole was alive but being held in a
house in east Trinidad by several men.
"As a mother it is hard not to jump at any chance to find
her but we were able to figure out that these calls were just
scams. We would have gladly paid if we could really find
her," Bhagwandass-Jaggan said.
She is pleading with anyone with information on Nicole
to call the Penal Police Station at 647-1233.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
In an attempt to curtail viral images
of school violence being recorded by
students and posted on social net-
working sites, Education Minister Dr
Tim Gopeesingh has announced that
the cellphone policy in schools will be
Making the announcement yesterday,
Gopeesingh said an inter-ministerial
team comprising the permanent sec-
retaries of the ministries of Education,
National Security, People and Social
Development and Gender Youth and
Child Development, had been mandated
to review the use of cell phones in the
nation's primary and secondary schools.
Admitting that they could not totally
ban the use of cellphones as students
were constitutionally entitled to contact
their parents during an emergency,
Gopeesingh said the authorities could
no longer continue to operate as usual.
He said although cell phones were a
modern communication device, the
team would be examining global prac-
tices and would present its recommen-
dations to the ministry shortly there-
Also present at the meeting at the
ministry's head office, Loinsworth
Building, St Clair, yesterday, was Nation-
al Security Minister Carl Alfonso and
Minister of the People and Social Devel-
opment Christine Newallo-Hosein.
Although Gender Youth and Child
Development Minister Clifton De Coteau
was not present at the meeting which
had only been arranged on Sunday, the
permanent secretary and other officials
from his ministry were present at the
meeting which began around 10 am
and lasted well beyond midday.
Acknowledging the recent upsurge
of videos depicting school violence and
bullying, Gopeesingh said: "We have to
make a decision about how we treat with
cellphones in schools, since it appears that
when children know they are performing
for a camera, they are tempted to behave
in even more risky behaviour."
Declaring the recent videos as "worrying,"
Gopeesingh said those posted to the social
media site Facebook last week, demonstrated
"school bullying and children fighting in
truly alarming and even brutal ways."
Claiming that student suspensions were
declining, Gopeesingh revealed for 2014,
there were a total of 1,800 matters of indis-
cipline reported throughout the seven edu-
Unwilling to name the schools which
recorded the most cases of indiscipline,
Gopeesingh said the South East and Port-
of-Spain and Environs districts, had each
recorded 270 cases of indiscipline.
Approximately 259 cases were reported
in the St George East Education District
while 204 cases were recorded in the Victoria
Meanwhile, in the Caroni Education Dis-
trict, the minister announced that there
were eight secondary schools on which they
needed to focus.
Highlighting the myriad of initiatives
introduced by his ministry to reduce school
violence and bullying, Gopeesingh said while
it was only a "few children who engage in
such disturbing behaviour," parents also
needed to take a greater responsibility for
their children's development in the home.
He urged absentee fathers to get involved
in their children's lives, as he believes this
could lead to a reduction in school violence.
Gopeesingh said perpetrators of criminal
acts were often victims "of larger problems
which may stem from issues in the home
or community, or mental and psychological
Adding that the Police Service was ready
to respond to any acts of criminal violence,
Gopeesingh warned both students and par-
ents that anyone caught involved in harmful
acts, would be prosecuted according to the
He was unable to provide a number of
the people who were before the courts for
similar acts, but he stressed that: "principals
already know that when students break the
law, it is well outside of their purview to
handle this. Criminal acts in our schools,
regardless of who perpetrates them, are
criminal acts and must and should be dealt
with by the police."
To this end, chief education officer Harrilal
Seecharan has also been mandated to meet
with school principals and school supervisors
to reinforce the urgent need for prompt
reporting of each incident of bullying, vio-
lence and threats to be reported to the min-
Gopeesingh said they would also seek
the assistance of the Ministry of Justice to
ensure the matters before the court were
dealt with in a timely manner, while the
Ministry of National Security was also mov-
ing towards addressing the issue of gang
violence outside the school and its impact
on students within the education system.
Ministry moves to tackle school violence...
policy to be reviewed
On the issue of providing
transport for schoolchildren,
Gopeesingh said his ministry had
spent close to $50 million last
year on the service.
He said it had partnered with
the Public Transport Service
Corporation as well as private
maxi-taxi operators and other
private drivers to ensure that
children were safely delivered to
and from schools.
Vicky Bhagwandass-Jaggan, mother of Nicole Jaggan
(inset), who went missing in 2014, shows a poster of her
missing daughter yesterday. Today marks one year since
she went missing. PHOTO KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Mother prays for
return after a year
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