Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 15th 2016 Contents A8
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 15, 2016
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Frustrated parents of Rousillac Hindu School
locked teachers out of classes on Friday as they
staged a silent protest over delays in reconstruction
of a new school.
It has been 13 years since the school was burnt
down because of faulty electrical wiring. Since then,
children have been attending classes at the Rousillac
Community Centre at Happy Hill. When the teaching
staff arrived at the centre around 8 am, they met three
padlocks on the front gates.
Spokesman Miriam Boyce said parents were frus-
trated over the poor conditions at the centre. She said
students have been falling ill because of the heat and
dust. She also said the sewer system was faulty.
"The centre was not built to accommodate 189
pupils and ten members of staff. The classrooms are
small, cramped and uncomfortable," Boyce said. She
added that security was not up to par as anybody
could walk into the centre.
"We have been lobbying for a new school and con-
struction of a new school finally started in 2013. That
project is now at a standstill and we are fed up of
waiting," Boyce said. She said the environment was
not conducive to learning as classrooms were separated
by a blackboard and the noise levels were too high.
"Children getting sick every day. They have to be
taken to the health centre. We have a few fans and
no AC. We have no trees for shade and the heat is
just unbearable," Boyce added.
Another parent Laura Boodoo-Samaroo said her
six-year-old son was among those who fell ill. "We
have stray dogs coming all over the school. My son
got a rash on his forehead and when we took him to
the doctor he said it was because of the heat and
dust," Boodoo-Samaroo said. She added that it was
difficult to get her son transferred to another school.
"South Oropouche RC is closed down and we have
no place at Rousillac Presbyterian. Avocat Vedic is not
taking anybody and Delhi Hindu school has no space,"
Another parent Oma Orie said her seven-year-old
son was also ill because of the conditions.
"He always keeps complaining about the dust. Two
or three times for the week he gets headaches," Orie
said. She said parents will continue to keep their chil-
dren away from classes until the government restarts
work. Contacted on Friday, an official from the Edu-
cation Ministry said the reconstruction programme
has been put on hold as the Education Facilities Com-
pany Ltd is under review. He said clearance must be
given by the Finance Ministry before the project can
Education Minister Anthony Garcia could not be
reached for comment.
Money Mania jackpot $11,000
Rousillac Hindu school reconstruction...
Teachers locked out of
classes by irate parents
Pupils of Rousillac Hindu Primary School hold onto chains placed on the gate leading to the Rousillac
Community Centre which prevented them from entering the compound on Friday. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
& KEVON FELMINE
The Oilfields Workers Trade Union
(OWTU) is contemplating legal action
on behalf of 860 workers from OAS
Construtora who are now on the
This as the National Infrastructure
Development Company (Nidco) also
considers its legal options against the
Brazilian construction firm, which is
yet to complete the $7.4 billion Solomon
Hochoy Highway Extension.
It is 13 months past the completion
date and less than 50 per cent of the
$7.5 billion project has been done, con-
struction work having started since
Since OAS demobilised from the
project sites for the Christmas vacation
with the intention to remobilise on Jan-
uary 5, work is yet to resume. Since
then, construction materials and equip-
ment are being pilfered.
In an interview yesterday, OWTU s
president general Ancel Roget said OAS
was in the process of leaving T&T.
However, he warned that OAS must
honour its commitment to pay the
workers their outstanding salaries and
"We are going to mount a massive
campaign to ensure that they pay. We
will also force the Government to
change the laws so that workers will
not suffer," Roget said. He said OWTU
met with Nidco on Thursday to discuss
why OAS s assets were frozen.
Roget said Nidco had stopped OAS
from selling its assets so it could acquire
monies to pay workers. "We have met
with our attorneys and we will ensure
that every worker is paid," Roget added.
He called on all retrenched workers to
join with the OWTU.
Meanwhile, Nidco s corporate com-
munications manager Ingrid Ishmael
said they will soon invite tenders for
the completion of the project. Saying
OAS has not informed Nidco of its
intended departure, Ishmael said anoth-
er contractor will be hired to complete
"All indications are that OAS is failing
to engage the project in a workmanlike
manner to ensure that the completion
target is achieved. The employer is
therefore driven to consider the available
legal options. As the Prime Minister
said, the employer is looking at the
legitimate ways by which we can extri-
cate ourselves from OAS and their non-
"Further, a contract/contracts will
be issued through tender to complete
the highway and to finish the highway
in the shortest possible time," Ishmael
Nidco s acting president Steve Garib-
singh previously told the Guardian that
the contractor reported that it had sev-
eral issues regarding payments to sup-
pliers, sub-contractors and workers
that restrict their ability to restart works.
He said the Construtora OAS had
planned to employ several local con-
tractors to complete outstanding work
so that it can leave the site by the end
of May 2016.
The construction of the highway has
been mired with problems, stemming
from funding, the potential to cause
ecological damage to the Oropouche
Lagoon, and the displacement of res-
OWTU to take legal action against OAS
The Rousillac Hindu school burnt down on March 9, 2003.
After the fire, students were accommodated at a nearby
Rousillac SDMS temple. However, in 2008 the parents
staged protests saying the classrooms were being flooded
during rainy weather. The school was then transferred to
the Rousillac Community Centre. In 2013, under former
education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh, a contract was
awarded and construction of the new school began. It was
supposed to be completed within eight months.
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