Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 19th 2015 Contents A9
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Education Minister Anthony Garcia
says he is hoping consultation with
the national community early next
year will bring results for his min-
Speaking at a news conference at the
Ministry of Education s head office at
Alexandra Street in St Clair, Port-of-
Spain, Garcia said the consultation
would be held on a day the week after
Carnival, whereas the next day it would
be held in Tobago.
Garcia said he hoped the consulta-
tions would be held at the National
Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA)
which is expected to be available for
use at that time.
"I would like to advise members of
the public that the decision taken where
education is concerned is from what
transpired" earlier, he said.
The consultation will also focus on
the Education Act to see if it is still
serving its purpose, since it was estab-
lished in 1966, to see if it is relevant.
He said it was not their intention to
abolish the Concordat established in
Garcia said the consultations would
focus on improving education delivery
through the syllabus.
He said another issue would be
Education ministry to hold national consultations
indiscipline in schools which
would be a focus of the consul-
"We are hoping it (consultation)
will bring ideas and I am an opti-
mist. Too much times we hear of
indiscipline in schools and the
teachers problems with the stu-
dents. We are hoping it will bring
ideas to move forward. I want to
assure the national community it
must be brought to an end and
minimised," he said.
Garcia said every child has the
ability to learn and no child should
be denied that opportunity.
"In the school system, there are
many impediments that we are
seeing today that will affect the
learning of our children and once
they are removed we will see an
increase in the opportunities for
"It is tied into bullying. There
is evidence it has been reported
that many students are being left
unsupervised in our schools. We
will be engaging behavioural psy-
chologists qualified in the field to
assist us. The consultation will air
the view of those with expertise
and we will draw from that pool
and we can handle this problem.
"I want to move forward and
we have to find out why they are
being unsupervised and account
for that and we will hear the views
of the national community and
we will move forward," he said.
Garcia said metal detectors
might be necessary but corporal
punishment was a thing of the
As for the School Feeding Pro-
gramme, Garcia said the reason
the teachers were eating the box
food was to show the students
He said the purpose of the box
lunch was to teach the students
how to use proper etiquette.
"I served in primary and sec-
ondary school and it was expected
that teachers would sit and observe
the students and educate them on
etiquette. The teacher was also
required to partake and it has
caused a lot of problems," he said.
Garcia said teachers were
refraining from eating the box
lunch because of the negative
Meanwhile, he said, efforts were
made to pay outstanding stipends
to those studying abroad and fees
have also been paid.
The ten Cazabon paintings pur-
chased by the Government for
close to $2 million are real, not
Artist and president of the Art
Society of T&T, Clayton de Freitas,
passionately insisted the paintings
were real, claiming they were
"The paintings are original. I
know they are. They were authen-
Asked how they were authenti-
cated and by whom, de Freitas said
that information could not be
revealed to the media. "I can t say
by whom. I can t disclose that."
He added, though, there were
people in T&T who had the skills
to tell if a painting was real or fake.
"They look at the artist s signature,
his style, the use of his brush.
"In Cazabon s case, the pigment
he used (in his watercolours) was
different to what is used today. The
paper he used was different, too."
Opposition Leader Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar has questioned
whether the Cazabon paintings
She based her concerns on several
international media reports which
named Christie s, the London auc-
tion house where the paintings were
bought, as being involved in selling
The UK Guardian reportedly
stated more than 30 paintings were
identified as fakes. There are also
reports of people who took legal
action against Christie s.
But de Freitas said he did not
know anything about that.
"They are one of the most rep-
utable and world-renowned auction
houses. They check everything you
bring, whether they be paintings,
tapestry or earthenware. They
would have asked for the history
(of the item).
"They sell no fakes there. They
sell to the Queen of England and
other leading people in the world."
Giving "kudos" to Prime Minister
Dr Keith Rowley for the acquisition
of the paintings, considered an
invaluable part of T&T s heritage,
de Freitas said, "I don t know who
advised him but they advised him
"The Government bought beau-
tiful works. As an artist, I applaud
He dismissed concerns about
spending money on paintings in a
time of economic decline. The
paintings were bought in October,
after Finance Minister Colm Imbert
told the nation the country had no
money. De Freitas said if the Gov-
ernment had not bought the paint-
ings, they might have been auc-
tioned off to someone in Japan "and
our history would have gone."
"Cazabon documented our his-
tory and showed, through art, how
places in Trinidad would have
looked in those days." Cazabon lived
from 1813 to 1888.
Asked how the paintings ended
up at the auction house, he said
people in T&T own Cazabon paint-
ings and for one reason or another
would have decided to sell them.
He said the Government was
making arrangements to store them
locally and they would be part of
a 2016 exhibition.
Art Society president
'Cazabon paintings are originals'
A pedestrian walks past a line of mannequins on display outside
a store on Broadway, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
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