Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 22nd 2016 Contents A5
Monday, February 22, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Classes at the Chaguanas North
Secondary School are set to
resume as normal today, albeit
with an increased police presence.
Education Minister Anthony
Garcia said yesterday that police
officials have agreed to maintain a
"very visible presence" inside and
outside the school compound at
Helen Street, Chaguanas.
This comes two days after classes
were dismissed early because of a
planned gun attack at the school
by gang members who have close
links with students attending the
It is alleged that the gang mem-
bers planned to attack certain teach-
ers and students because their asso-
ciates had been reprimanded for
News of the "credible threat"
was brought to the attention of the
ministry, as well as the Trinidad
and Tobago Unified Teachers Asso-
ciation (TTUTA) on February 19,
which prompted an emergency
meeting and forced officials to can-
cel classes for the remainder of the
Contacted via phone, Garcia
revealed that he had spoken with
National Security Minister Edmund
Dillon on the matter.
Garcia said the number of secu-
rity guards would be doubled from
four to eight.
The minister added, "If the sit-
uation warrants, we will have more."
Admitting that this was a new
level of school violence being dis-
played, Garcia described it as a
"serious and troublesome issue."
Revealing that he had already
consulted the Ministry of Social
Development and Family Services
for their assistance, Garcia explained
that this was "a societal problem
and one which we do not want to
escalate any further."
Garcia said, "This situation has
its genesis in the community and
that seems to be migrating into that
Garcia is expected to return to
the school tomorrow at 9 am.
TTUTA president Davanand
Sinanan said his members who were
assigned to the school had expe-
rienced "very real fear" which had
prompted them to reach out to the
association for help.
Sinanan agreed the violence had
"reached a new level," and it was
up to the authorities to "take up
the matter now."
Sinanan said while there have
been previous incidents of drug
use, internal school violence,
weaponry and teacher/student
intimidation reported at that school,
"It was nothing like this one."
Relating an incident from last
year when police were called to the
school, Sinanan said a scratch bomb
was lit and thrown at a police vehi-
cle but nothing was ever done about
Using this incident as a bench-
mark, Sinanan asked, "If there are
students who are so emboldened
and have no respect for the law,
how do you think they will treat
Chairman of the National Insurance
Property Development Company Ltd
(Nipdec) Michael Toney has given the
assurance that millions owed to 290
pharmacies for services rendered
under the Chronic Disease Assistance
Programme (CDAP) will be paid.
But he said the problem was not a
lack of funds but rather the process by
which the monies were generated.
Toney made the statements in
response to a story in the Sunday
Guardian in which president of the
Pharmacy Board of T&T Andrew
Rahaman made the claim of non-pay-
Rahaman had said the pharmacies
had been awaiting payments for the
past eight months and had also threat-
ened to withhold services to thousands
of CDAP patients until they were paid.
Toney said on an i95 call-in show
yesterday that the matter was first
brought to his attention, and that of
management, around 3.30 pm last Fri-
He said with the change in Govern-
ment last year, a new board was
appointed in January this year.
Describing it as a two-fold issue,
Toney added: "There is the period from
July to October and there is the period
from November to date.
"My information is that the funds
to pay the pharmacists were received
around the end of last month by Nipdec
from the Ministry of Health and we
are processing those cheques."
He said when claims were sent in
from pharmacists these were in the
form of copies of CDAP prescriptions.
"That claim has to be translated into
dollars before the quantum can be
ascertained. We outsourced the pro-
gramme that has to deal with the con-
version from the claim form to the dol-
lar amount and there has been some
problems with the service provider. But
on Friday we were able to get the con-
version we needed to take this quantum
of money, submit it to the Ministry of
Health so that we could get the money
to pay the pharmacists," Toney said.
He did not identify the provider but
said the person was local.
On the time frame when this was
expected to be sorted out, he said this
was difficult to say but it was a matter
which was being urgently addressed as
officials had also been working over
Saying that he was concerned regard-
ing the current process, Toney said
what was needed to be done in Nipdec
was to get a firm grasp of all the various
projects and an understanding of them.
"If it is that Nipdec is spread too
thin what we have to do is fix Nipdec
so we can generate an efficient and
effective service for the ministry.
"I empathise with the situation that
the pharmacists are in but, I want to
give them the assurance that we are
going to be working assiduously to cor-
rect that situation and to make sure it
does not happen again. As far as I know
the problem is not the lack of funds,
because these funds would have been
allocated in the budget," Toney said.
He added the ministry has been "very
timely" in providing the necessary
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh,
who had also been contacted by the
Sunday Guardian, had promised to get
to the bottom of the issue.
In the article, Deyalsingh had com-
plained that Rahaman "just runs to the
media for every little thing."
Regarding this, Toney said he did not
know Rahaman therefore could not
...after gang hit foiled at Chaguanas school
Nipdec to make
Education Minister Anthony Garcia
of Bishop Anstey
Morong and well-
copies of the
Lost at Carnival.
The book, which
was written by
Friday at Bishop
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