Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2015 Contents A9
March 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Minister of Planning and
Sustainable Development, Dr
Bhoe Tewarie, says his decision
to grant Arbor and Rosewood
permission to continue exten-
sion of its Maraval schools
Tewarie was responding to
Diego Martin North East MP
Colm Imbert, who in a motion
queried on what grounds
Tewarie had rejected then direc-
tor of highways Roger Ganesh s
decision not to accept the
school s traffic proposal, and
the gridlock the schools were
likely to create during peak
Last month, Tewarie granted
the Town and Country Planning
Division permission for the
school to be extended, but out-
lined six conditions in which
they should operate.
Speaking in the House of
Representatives on Friday,
Tewarie said last August he was
compelled to write the school s
director, Phillip Hamel-Smith,
informing him that his ministry
and Town and Country had
every intention to deny them
planning permission to complete
construction of the Long Cir-
cular Road, Maraval school.
The denial was based on the
owners not having permission
to proceed with construction.
Tewarie said as minister,
through the TCPD Act, he can
grant planning permission
"either unconditionally or sub-
ject to such conditions as he
sees fit, or may refuse permis-
Under 11.3 of the act, Tewarie
said "it is the minister who is
empowered to make the final
He added that he can take
advice where necessary.
The school was closed last
year following an injunction filed
by the Diego Martin Regional
The matter is still before the
"The fact therefore, that the
director of highways advised
against something is only one
consideration, and his opinion,
with all due respect, is not bind-
ing on the minister," Tewarie
Tewarie said although Imbert
read the letter from the director
of highways, there was also, in
the Ministry of Works, a traffic
"The director of highways is
not necessarily a traffic expert,
and the traffic engineer is, in
fact, the person whose business
it is to look at the issue of traffic,
separate and distinct from the
development of the highway.
"The only reason I am saying
that is because the honourable
member for Diego Martin North
East raised the question of
expertise and suggested that the
minister had no expertise to go
against the recommendations
of the director of highways."
Tewarie said his decision was
not an assumption of expertise
on traffic management, but a
deliberation of facts that was
pertinent to the case.
Yesterday, the school placed
a full page advertisement in a
daily newspaper stating that it
had obtained all the statutory
approvals and was fully com-
pliant with all regulations.
The school stated that for last
six months its children have
been denied an education and
"now would like to provide the
highest quality bi-lingual edu-
cation to our young citizens."
Last July, a group calling
themselves the Lower Maraval
Residents Association had been
actively opposed to the school s
location and operations.
Customs and Excise officers, acting on informa-
tion on Friday, arrested a 32-year-old man who
was attempting to export two water heaters loaded
with over 22 kilos of marijuana with a street value
of $3 million.
The arrest took place at the Caribbean Airlines
bond in Piarco. The bond is located obliquely opposite
the Piarco Police Station.
According to officials, customs officers detected
something was amiss after questioning the suspect
about the water heaters, which were originally pur-
chased in the US.
Based on these suspicions the officers stripped the
two water heaters and found 36 packets of high-
grade marijuana weighing 22.8 kilos hidden inside.
The officers arrested the man and handed him
over to the police.
Officers of the Organised Crime, Narcotics and
Firearms Bureau assisted in the arrest.
The suspect is expected to appear in court on
Diego Martin Central MP Dr Amery Browne has
questioned whether some parents pay primary school
principals as much as $3,000 to enrol pupils in their
schools. Browne raised the issue in the House of Rep-
resentatives on Friday during Matters on the Adjourn-
He said the matter was brought to his attention by
his baby sitter, who encountered the situation after
she went to a school to register her five-year-old child.
"At 5 am the parents would show up at the school
to register their child with the required documents.
These are some of the horror stories," he told the House.
In some instances, Browne said the school would
inform the parents they were not registering, but dis-
tributing limited forms, which does not give the child
"Sadly, some parents in the line made comments
like I will be willing to pay $3,000 to short circuit this
thing and get my child in. In a highly corrupt society
as ours, I get worried when I hear things like that
because it suggests that maybe people are paying
He said enrolling an infant in a primary school was
"more difficult than getting them into a university."
Browne asked Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh
what criteria principals use in enrolling pupils.
"Things have gotten so bad that there are now meet-
ings....cottage meetings in pre-schools that frustrated
parents gather and try to share strategies of how to
get their child in this or that school."
He said some schools even question if parents have
big jobs as a criteria for choosing children.
"Parents who may not have a high level job may
form the impression that these things mattered and
principals might be selecting based on who might be
able to help the school well in the future. It appears
that this process is inequitable, dehumanising and
In response, Gopeesingh said he too shared the
Gopeesingh said parents whose children are rejected
often call him to complain.
In some of the 455 primary schools, Gopeesingh
said some parents register their children before birth.
"What do you do? I have the responsibility and
accountability but not the authority."
Gopeesingh blamed the 1961 Concordat, which gives
principals direct control and management of their
He said parents also tend to gravitate to schools that
perform well in the SEA exams.
Browne: Parents paying
$3,000 to enrol children
in primary schools
Man held trying to ship
ganja in water heaters
Green light for Arbor and Rosewood school
Approval final says Tewarie
Boodram, from row left,
Minister of the People
and Social Development
Minister in the Ministry
and ministry officials
pose for a group
graduates of a National
Poverty Reduction and
Coordinating Unit (N
PREP-CU) programme at
the South Academy for
Performing Arts, on
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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