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Armed members of the
Defence Force yesterday took
up temporary posting at the
Chaguanas North Secondary
School, after it was reported
that the school would come
under attack from gang mem-
bers in the community.
The soldiers, who happened
to be at the school on another
matter yesterday, volunteered to
offer the "extra security" after a
report that a gun attack was to
be executed on a teacher, security
personnel and students. The
attack was to be executed by
warring gangs in the area who
were dressed as students. The
attackers had been asked by stu-
dents of the school who were
part of the gangs to carry out the
attack as a planned act of revenge
following a recent incident at the
After the police, Ministry of
Education and T&T Unified
Teachers Association (TTUTA)
were notified, the school was
dismissed at 9 am. National
Security Minister Edmund Dillon
was also notified of the situation
and expressed deep concern.
Ministers in the Ministry of
Education, Anthony Garcia and
Lovell Francis, and TTUTA mem-
bers held an emergency meeting
to discuss the situation and held
a press conference at Tower D,
International Waterfront Centre,
Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday, to discuss the matter.
TTUTA president Devanand
Sinanan said a parent on her way
to the school was flagged down
by a student who alerted her to
the situation. He said the day
before a student had been
charged by the police and another
student was given a "buss head,"
adding he believed revenge came
into play and school uniforms
were given out to "those not in
the school" to carry out the
deadly attack against the staff
"The plan to execute a gun
attack today on a teacher and
security officers on the premises
resulted in army presence on the
compound and an early dis-
missal," he said.
He said it was a mere coinci-
dence that a parent who was a
member of the Defence Force had
also gone to the school to get a
report card and was notified of
the situation by the parent who
was flagged down earlier. The
soldier parent immediately vol-
unteered, along with some of his
colleagues who were also present,
to provide security until the
Chaguanas police were alerted.
Sinanan said classes at the
school were also suspended this
past week due to a spate of threats
and violence perpetrated by stu-
dents who had links to gang
members. He said students who
are members of gangs sprayed
the wall with graffiti with the
words "Rasta City" and "Mus-
lims" and many of them scaled
the wall, lined with razor wire,
to gain access to the compound
when they were not allowed
through the gate.
Sinanan said there were also
reports of drugs and guns being
taken onto the compound by the
students, and police have been
called in continuously due to
reports of physical and verbal
abuse against the teachers and
there were even parts of the com-
pound where teachers were afraid
to go. Furthermore, he said, the
principal had been instructed by
the police officers at the Chagua-
nas Police Station that she should
not make any more reports there
or take students involved in vio-
He said security at the school
was reduced over a year ago and
this was the main reason for the
increased indiscipline at the
"They should install more
cameras, the return of a second
safety officer, more levels of sup-
port from the police and we are
asking for the temporary removal
of students displaying violent and
indisciplined behaviour linked to
gang activity and posing a threat,"
Sinanan said the association
would like to see some semblance
of order restored and normalcy
returned to the school.
He, however, said he admired
the teachers who were there on
a daily basis amidst the threats
to their lives.
"There is gang activity playing
itself out and this gang activity
is external to the school."
He called for Out of School
Suspension Centres in Caroni so
the students would not just be
sent home but ministry personnel
"They are not getting the level
of support when they should,"
Minister Garcia said MTS
security personnel will now be
keeping a strong security presence
at the school for as long as nec-
essary. He described the issue as
"frightening, an ugly scourge and
serious," adding the spate of indis-
cipline at schools was ongoing.
But Garcia pledged that stu-
dents who did not behave would
be facing the full brunt of the law
and indiscipline would be dealt
"We will do everything to end
this scourge in our schools. We
have to put our heads together
to eradicate indiscipline in our
schools," he said, adding schools
should be places of safety and
gang warfare at the school was
a cause of great concern.
Garcia said he planned to visit
the school on Tuesday at 9 am
but classes would resume on
Contacted yesterday, Central
Division head, Snr Supt Jayson
Forde, said the information was
new to him and he refused to
comment on the issue. However,
officers at the Chaguanas station
last night confirmed they had
received a report of the violence
at the school.
Relatives of Central
car dealer Sheron
Sukhdeo were yester-
day successful in their
third attempt at secur-
ing bail for him.
Sukhdeo was released
from prison shortly
before midday after the
paperwork for the bail
postings were processed
by a clerk of the peace.
before a Chaguanas
magistrate at the Tunapuna Magistrates Court on
Wednesday on assault charges.
He was charged with assaulting his wife, Rachael
Sukhdeo, on two occasions last week, after officers
from the Chaguanas Police Station arrested him
on Tuesday at his businessplace, then executed a
search warrant at his home.
Sukhdeo subsequently spent the past two nights
in jail as bail was not processed.
Passengers on board the T&T Express yesterday
thanked God they were able to arrive at the Scar-
borough Port in Tobago safely, after one of the
vehicles on the car deck caught afire.
The incident occurred just over an hour into the
voyage from Trinidad en route to Tobago.
The sailing was initially scheduled for 10 am but
was postponed to 1.30 pm. But the vessel didn t
actually begin sailing to Tobago untill about 2.08
However, as the vessel hit open water an
announcement was made on the PA System for the
driver of PBW 7460, a BMW SUV, to attend to their
vehicle immediately. That call was made again several
minutes later, but this time for the driver to check
in with the information desk.
It was not until shortly before 4 pm that boat
workers were seen feverishly attempting to extinguish
the blaze with a fire extinguisher. It is believed the
fire started in the vehicle s engine.
Just after 5 pm, as the boat was docking in the
Tobago Port and drivers along with their accompa-
nying passengers were asked to go down to the car
deck, passengers close to the vehicle saw the BMW s
bonnet was scorched. The strong stench of smoke
and burnt plastic dominated the deck, causing the
passengers who were milling around to stop and
look on curiously. The damaged vehicle was also
under the watchful eyes of a port police officer.
It is not certain what caused the fire and the inci-
dent is said to be under investigation.
A worker, who wished not to be identified, sub-
sequently said his colleagues did their best to contain
the blaze and extinguish it before it caused an explo-
"The lives of hundreds of people were saved and
scores of vehicles saved also. We had very rough
seas but we do not know what caused the BMW
to catch on fire," the worker said.
A passenger, who identified himself as Bob from
Chaguanas, described the incident as frightening,
but thanked God that no major disaster took place.
Efforts to reach an official from the TT Port Author-
ity for comment were unsuccessful yesterday.
Students set up attack on classmates, teacher
The Chaguanas North Secondary School was deserted yesterday evening, but earlier security forces were called in after information
surfaced that gunmen were planning to enter the school and attack a teacher, security personnel and students. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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