Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 17th 2015 Contents A9
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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What appear to be a major shake-up at the Edu-
cation Facilities Company (EFCL), in charge of main-
tenance and repairs at schools, has forced the closure
of yet another school.
Some 547 pupils of the Arouca Government Pri-
mary School has not been to school for almost one
month now and may be home until next year because
of a major electrical problem at the institution.
Angry parents, led to believe the EFCL would begin
the project to rewire the school yesterday, staged a
protest when they saw no sign of any work being
Armed guards are now reportedly securing docu-
ments at the EFCL office in Maraval which points to
alleged corruption surrounding the award of con-
The discovery of the documents was made one day
after the new board appointed by the PNM Government
after its September 7 general election win suspended
EFCL chief executive officer Kiran Shah and chief
operating officer Sharma Maharaj over claims of
Parents believe that necessary repairs at their chil-
dren s schools are not being done by the EFCL because
of the current problems at the state entity.
Grandparent Joan Wharwood said parents were not
being told anything about what was going on and
when their children would return to school.
"There is a big notice board at the front of the
school but the PTA did not put up a sign. They did
not even call any of the parents," she said.
Debbie Carr, whose son, Ancil, is in Standard Four,
added: "Getting feedback is almost impossible."
Wharwood said students were sent home one day
after fire broke out in a part of the school building
because of an electrical problem.
PTA president, Roxanne Sampson said she had not
North/South fares up by $2
From December 1, members of
the travelling public will face a $2
hike in taxi fares, as four different
associations plan to increase prices.
The North/South Taxi Drivers
Association, the Curepe/San Fernan-
do Association, the Chaguanas/San
Fernando Association and the Point
Fortin/San Fernando Association will
all increase their fares by $2.
The increase comes almost two
months after the 2015-2016 budget
was passed in Parliament, bringing a
15 per cent increase in the prices of
super gasoline and diesel.
Super gasoline went from $2.70 to
$3.11 a litre and diesel from $1.50 to
$1.72 per litre. The increases are part
of an effort to lower T&T s annual
fuel subsidy by an estimated $340
The decision to increase fares was
taken during a joint meeting amongst
drivers of the North/South associa-
tion, the Curepe/San Fernando asso-
ciation and the Chaguanas/San Fer-
nando association last Friday.
The fare from San Fernando to
Port-of-Spain will increase from $15
to $17. The fare from Curepe to San
Fernando will increase from $13 to $15
and the Chaguanas to San Fernando
fare will increase from $12 to $14.
However, there is division amongst
drivers of the North/South association
who voted against an increase on
One driver, Andre Morrison, says
the decision to raise the fares was
done against the wishes of
Morrison said North/South pres-
ident, Hayden Whiskey, joined the
meeting in order to secure a majority
"The president could not get a
majority without the other associa-
tions joining up," Morrison said.
"There are about 30 senior drivers
on the North/South route who will
not be increasing their prices."
Morrison said at the meeting on
Friday 42 drivers voted for the increase
and three voted against.
"The North/South drivers who are
against the increase were not present
at that meeting."
Morrison is sending a message to
members of the public:
"It is not in our constitution for
him (Whiskey) to join with other asso-
ciations just to get the majority vote.
We want members of the traveling
public to know that the 30 of us will
not increase our prices."
However, another driver of the
Curepe/San Fernando Association is
telling another tale.
"The division between them is over
some personal issue," said driver Julien
Alexander. "It is not 30 drivers who
are keeping their prices the same, it
is a lot less than that."
He said Curepe drivers have been
waiting since the budget was passed
to increase their fares.
"Since after the budget we were
going to raise, but we were waiting
for the Port-of-Spain drivers to raise
first. Now, we have come together
and decided to raise the fares together,"
closes Arouca Govt
been getting any information about when the problem
would be fixed.
"I am getting the runaround from the EFCL. I also
went to the Education Ministry office in Tunapuna
this morning but did not get to see anyone," she added
She said the electrical problem was so bad it was
only by the hand of God that the entire school was
not burnt down.
Sampson added: "The EFCL visited the school and
said it was a minor problem and will take two days
to repair. Then the T&T Electricity Commission visited
the school and took the metre and the EFCL told us
it will take about two weeks to rewire the school.
"Between the tender going out and selecting a con-
tractor, we don t know how long it will take.
"Our children may not return to school until next
year," she added. She said Standard Five students
were being accommodated at D Abadie Government
Primary and the PTA has been trying to find places
for the rest of the students.
"We are looking at Bon Air Primary or the old block
of Five Rivers Secondary which is now empty."
She said Standard Four pupils are supposed to do
the practical aspect of their physical education course
in the Continuous Assessment Component of the
Secondary Entrance Assessment examination.
Standards One to Three are also supposed to be
preparing for the upcoming National Test, she said.
A worker at the EFCL, after hearing about the prob-
lem at Arouca Government Primary, said yesterday:
"Oh, that is repairs." She transferred the T&T Guardian
to a line that gave this voice mail: "We can t take your
Close to 900 students of the Chaguanas
Government Primary School continue to
remain at home as their parents were told
there would be further delays in awarding a
contract to repair the school's malfunctioning
PTA president, Lyndon Mohammed, said
school officials informed them Friday that a
contract was awarded for the project.
"We thought work would begin Saturday but
then read of the problems at the EFCL in the
"Now we don't know when work would
actually begin." Mohammed said the PTA
planned a general membership meeting
yesterday evening to strategise on what they
could do to help alleviate the problem.
Pupils of the Arouca Government Primary School and their parents protest outside the school yesterday.
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