Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 10th 2016 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Friday, June 10, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 09TH JUNE, 2016
RADHICA SOOKRAJ-DE SILVA
Pressuring the Ministry of Education to
discipline three senior teachers, the Arya
Pratinidhi Sabha Board has shut down the
Rio Claro Vedic Primary School, leaving
students in a quandary.
With national tests just 12 days away,
angry parents protested yesterday, calling
for the ministry to intervene.
The board has accused one of the teachers
of having an "inappropriate relationship"
while another was accused of desecrating
the school s religious texts by dumping them
in a bin. The books were compilations of
Vedic songs and prayers.
Parent Meera Mansingh yesterday said
since Tuesday new locks had been placed
on the gates of the school and a fresh batch
of private security was hired.
"New security guards are manning the
compound but we do not know why this
action was taken," Mansingh said.
She explained, however, that some teach-
ers were negligent in their duties and did
not care about pupils.
"Now that tests are coming up we really
do not know what is happening. Yesterday
a mike (public speaker) passed around saying
that the school is closed until further notice
but we do not know why," Mansingh added.
She called on Education Minister Anthony
Garcia to intervene immediately and reopen
But parent Vanessa Basdeo said the three
teachers the board wanted to remove were
actually among the hard-working staff
"For two years the school was under aca-
demic watch by the ministry because of the
poor performance of the students but
recently under this new adminstration stu-
dents started to do better and now the board
wants to remove the hard working teachers,"
Radica Gainder, whose son is in second
year, said it was sad that students had to
suffer because people were "fighting for
position." She said regardless of the issues,
the ministry had a duty to respond.
Contacted yesterday, T&T Unified Teach-
ers Association second vice-president,
Lynsley Doodhai, said the board s decision
to close down the school was illegal.
"TTUTA condemns what is taking place.
The Vedic Board is acting in a lawless man-
ner. If the board has concerns this is not
the way to handle the situation," Doodhai
He added that the matter should be
addressed by the ministry and the Teaching
"This action has disrupted teaching and
learning in the school and we want to say
that rather than locking out the teachers,
this should be addressed in a civil manner,"
Saying the lockout was counter-produc-
tive, Doodhai called on Garcia to address
the matter in the shortest possible time.
Contacted yesterday, general secretary of
the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha Board, Avanti
Supersad, said the lockout was a last resort.
She said the board had been communicating
with the ministry for the past two years but
nothing was done to address the teachers
Asked why the board wanted the teachers
out, Supersad said one teacher desecrated
the Vedic books by throwing 22 copies inside
Patricia Jycerie wept openly yes-
terday as she recalled how a nagging
feeling to check on her younger sister
saved her own life when her home
was firebombed yesterday.
Jycerie, 54, said she was just about
to retire for the night around 1 am
when she succumbed to an urge to
check on her sister, Evelyn Antoo.
Antoo, 52, was born with Down Syn-
drome and cannot care for herself.
As Jycerie made her way into her
sister s bedroom, she heard several
loud explosions and saw the living
room where she was seated moments
before erupt into flames.
Her son, Special Reserve Police (SRP)
officer Reynold Charles, 39, who was
asleep on the ground floor of the
house, was awakened by his mother s
screams. He is attached to the Gran
Couva Police Station.
When the T&T Guardian visited
their home at Frasal Street, Gran
Couva, yesterday, Jycerie said police
were unsure whether the incident was
linked to her only child s job or an
ongoing dispute with neighbours.
"I had just finished watching ZeeTV
when I keep feeling like I should check
my sister who was sleeping in the
backroom," Jycerie recalled, noting
they threw "channa bombs" inside.
"As soon as I reach in the room and
I see her still asleep, I hear Pow, pow,
pow and I was about to run outside
when I saw the fire already blazing.
"They threw bottles into my bed-
room, the gallery upstairs, the living
room, the van in front the house...
they were pelting the bottles one after
the next. If I was in my bed I wouldn t
be here talking to you today... I would
have burnt up."
Jycerie was able to lead Antoo down
the steps at the rear of the house while
Charles ran up the front stairway with
a garden hose to try to put out the
During the interview, Charles com-
plained of pains on his feet and hands
as he suffered burns about the body.
"I wake up hearing my mother
screaming. I thought someone had
broken in and was attacking her.
"I run out and saw the top of the
house already engulfed in flames. I
tried to put out the fire with the hose
but it was too much. Some of the
neighbours came out with water buck-
ets but we couldn t do anything else,"
Jycerie watched in horror as the
"house that doubles built" was
destroyed by fire.
"I sell doubles for real years to be
able to build this house. I always tell
people, doubles build this house," she
As the family waited for relief as
well, fire officers trying to reach them
were stopped in their tracks by a
wooden bridge leading into their street.
The bridge has a six-ton weight
limit and the officers had to stop before
it and drag their hose a few hundred
feet to Jycerie s home.
Charles said if the bridge had not
presented such a problem the officers
may have been able to do more to save
"It was more work for them. If it
wasn t for that bridge, they would
have been here a lot faster," he said.
He estimated his family s losses at
over $.5 million.
Gran Couva police are continuing
Police officers survey the scene where their colleague SRP Reynold Charles' home was firebombed yesterday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
TTUTA says action illegal
Board closes school in protest over errant teachers
a dustbin and throwing boxes of school lunch over
it. She said the teachers were not doing their duties
and the standards of the school had dropped. She
also alleged one of the teachers had an inappropriate
relationship with an on-the-job trainee at the school.
"We are a denominational board and one of the
requirements is that religious education must be
upheld, staff must conform to our moral and religious
guidelines by attending faith-based activities and
allow students to participate," Supersad said.
She lamented that only five new students had
enrolled for the September term. Supersad also denied
that parents were not informed of the developments.
"We have all our minutes of meetings. Parents
were informed of the school closure via a mike and
a meeting was held yesterday to discuss the issues,"
Garcia could not be reached for comment yesterday
as calls to his cellular phone went unanswered.
Vanessa Basdeo expresses her displeasure
over the closure yesterday of Rio Claro Vedic
Primary School. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
For breaking news, call 225-4465 Exts 2032, 2033, 2004 or email us at email@example.com
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