Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2017 Contents A3
March 8 - 2017
THA tries to help students
The Division of Education is currently
looking into the sudden closure of a pres-
tigious school on the island.
Parents of students attending the school
arrived there on Ash Wednesday to find
that the owner had left the country in
mid-term without any prior notification
The school, which was on a mid-term
break for one week, was initially still acces-
sible to parents as the office remained open.
However, parents and teachers who turned
up at the school last Wednesday were left
outside, as the landlord locked the gate.
Teachers' post-dated cheques for their
February salaries were also not honoured
by the bank.
One parent, who did not want to be
identified, said the issue of the school's
closure was only brought to her attention
after the principal sent a WhatsApp mes-
sage to all parents noting that because she
received results from a "recent medical
screening... she was not returning for an
indefinite period due to the need for med-
"Please respect my family's need for pri-
vacy during this very difficult period," the
Immediately parents began asking about
the school's status and their refunds, as it
was midterm. There were signs that the
WhatsApp messages were read and parents
who inquired about reimbursement of fees
were blocked immediately, a person with
knowledge of the situation told Tobago
"The principal immediately exited from
the WhatsApp group," the parent said.
Another parent, Nathalie George, said
she was traumatised by the entire WhatsApp
conversation and began calling the princi-
pal's local cell phone number, which was
listed on the school's form.
"I was told there was no one there by
that name and I was mistaken," she said.
Other parents began frantically calling
the woman on her British-based cell phone
number, but there was no response.
In one instance, a query from a parent
regarding the owner's health situation was
met with the response that everything was
alright. "No, everything is alright ... No
one seems to notice the part which said I
am dealing with an urgent medical condi-
tion," the owner said via WhatsApp.
According to information reaching Toba-
go Today, the school began operating in
September 2012 offering O and A level
Maths lessons on evenings. It later increased
its intake to include SEA and first to fourth
The school underwent a name change
along the way but built a reputation for
producing good students, especially at the
Secondary Entrance Assessment Examina-
Tobago Today understands parents were
given fee structure options: termly, bi-an-
nually and annually. The term fees were
$4000. Parents paying annually did so
either at the beginning of the calendar year
-- January or school year -- September. A
lesson fee of $400 per month was also
added to secure evening lessons for children
in standards 3-5, with some parents paying
that fee by term or annually too. Addition-
ally, a CSEC Math class with 30 form three
students, as a special project, was offered
at $400 per month.
Contacted on the matter, Tobago House
of Assembly Chief Secretary and Education
Secretary, Kelvin Charles, said he was aware
of the matter and had instructed the Edu-
cation Department to assist parents in
finding accommodation for their children
in other schools.
"I have authorised the Division to treat
with the parents to see what schools they
could get them in," Charles said.
Told that other matters, particularly the
outstanding school fees owed to parents,
should cause the THA to spearhead inves-
tigations, the Education Secretary said he
was hearing most of the details for the first
time. He promised to look into the situa-
tion, especially the THA's relationship with
and jurisdiction over private schools.
Meanwhile, officers from the Crown Point
CID office are also said to be conducting
Private school shuts doors without warning
cries during visit
to Guaico school
McCartha "Calypso Rose"
Sandy-Lewis cried as students
sang and played on the steelpans
two of her favourite calypsoes,
"Going down San Fernando"
and "Fire in Yuh Wire", during
her visit to the Guaico Presby-
terian Primary Schoolin Trini-
After listening to the students'
presentations and being moved
close to tears, Calypso Rose said
she believes T&T's culture is in
In her short address, Rose
called on students to listen and
respect their teachers.
"Teachers are like your parents
and it is important that you lis-
ten to them," she told the stu-
Rose also advised the students
not to disrespect their elders.
"Whenever you pass them
always say good morning or good
evening to them. I am a senior
citizen and would like all to
respect me," she added.
Principal Indira Ram-
baran-Mohammed told Calypso
Rose that she was an inspiration
to the students of her school and
also took the opportunity to con-
gratulate on her French Grammy
Rose, who was the guest of
the Sangre Grande Regional Cor-
poration, had great fun with the
students as she sang, with the
back up chorus by all students
from Infants to Standard Five
joining in and dancing with Rose.
She told the students she chose
not to be a police officer, although
she was offered a job in the police
service after graduating with a
criminology degree. She said her
heart was in the arts and culture
as she wanted to sell T&T culture
internationally, noting this why
her her calypso Fire in yuh Wire
is sung in nine different languag-
es in nine countries throughout
At corporation later on, Rose
was presented with an award by
CEO Angela Guerra for her out-
standing contribution to culture
and her recent success. Corpo-
ration chairman Terry Rondon
also presented her with cheque
and a box of fresh fruits.
Secretary of Tourism, Culture, and Transportation
Nadine Stewart-Phillips, left, Tobago House of Assembly
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles and McCartha "Calypso Rose"
Sandy-Lewis pose with a portrait of Calypso Rose during a
welcome reception for the veteran calypsonian at the Arthur
NR Robinson International Airport last week. Rose was
honoured by the THA during her visit.
DIVISION OF TOURISM, CULTURE AND TRANSPORTATION
Portrait of a Rose
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