Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 10th 2017 Contents A4 news
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Rats, faulty wires keep Malick Sec closed
JENSEN LA VENDE
Members of the Malick Secondary
Parents/Teachers Association (PTA)
yesterday called on the Ministry of
Education to address health and
safety concerns plaguing the school
for the past six months.
Some the problems highlighted
yesterday, as both parents and
teachers staged a protest, was a rat
infestation which forced the closure
of the school's cafeteria, mould, un-
secured electrical outlets and falling
Teachers Megan Ali said while
some teachers have opted to work
in the unsafe conditions, the major-
ity of them continued to stay off the
job since last week. She pointed out
some electrical wiring which was
exposed to a puddle of water in the
Parents upset by the delay in ix-
ing the issues at the school yester-
day marched and chanted outside
the school's Coconut Drive, Mor-
vant compound demanding work
be done on the school to bring it up
to proper health and safety stand-
PTA vice president Karen Wal-
ters said they had a brief meeting
with school of icials yesterday and
were given empty assurances the
problems will be addressed. She
said a Ministry of Education of icial,
whom she identi ied only as Ms
Grif ith, could not give a time frame
for when the problems would be
"Today no teachers in classrooms
as they have taken a stance that
their safety is at risk, and rightly so,
and the environment is not condu-
cive to learning. You cannot come
to school when you think things will
fall and hit you, as the ceiling is also
falling down," she said.
Walters said parents are now
forced to keep their children home,
which is not sustainable, noting by
law parent cannot leave children
under the age of 18 unsupervised
and they cannot stay home from
work to supervise them.
"When you leave idle hands it be-
comes the playground for the Devil
and his imps. So we are not only
looking at this situation here but for
the safety of our children, our com-
munities," Walters said.
Residents of Marcano Quarry
Lands HDC apartments, in East
Port-of-Spain, are paying to live in
Since a ire destroyed parts of
the building ten years ago, con-
ditions have gone from bad to
Residents say homes are in-
fested with rats and snakes, they
go without water for months and
electricity only comes through
Recently residents began to dis-
cover water flowing through their
Violet Bowman, 81, has lived in
the apartments for 40 years.
She is one of the several senior
citizens living at Marcano Quarry,
also known as Canada. Bowen
takes care of her disabled son.
"I feel neglected. As a senior
citizen nothing has been done for
us, they never even look into us
here," she told Guardian Media
as she showed us her small, dark
Inside, wires hang from the
panel box and across the room,
evidence of Bowman's attempts to
remedy her own electrical issues.
Four floors above lives 71-year-
old Yvette Sandy. Sandy's son has
fashioned a water collection sys-
tem that allows her to use rainwa-
ter for everyday tasks.
"In the night when yuh in the
toilet, if yuh see how the rat does
be coming down from the roof,
if yuh eh duck, they jumping on
yuh, yuh know," she said.
When Guardian Media visited
yesterday, the stench of raw sew-
age was unbearable. Residents
said it ran through the compound
whenever there was rain. There
are 26 people living at the apart-
ments, among that number are at
least ten children.
There are cracks in the walls,
piles of garbage in puddles of
murky water and even bullet holes
in the windows.
There have been three murders
at the Canada apartments site
since the beginning of the year.
In one incident, a resident was
killed as he slept, by gunmen who
stormed into his home.
"Anything could happen, any-
one of us could dead, every morn-
ing we have to call one another to
see who alive," says resident Jef-
frey Hamilton Scott.
Scott and another resident said
since gang violence erupted in the
area last year, Canada was the only
HDC development in the area not
bene iting from the police pres-
ence. They say the police were
told that the buildings were con-
In response to the residents'
complaints, Housing Minister
Randall Mitchell con irmed the
squalid conditions at Marcano
In a message to Guardian Media,
he said: "The issue as I understand
it, is that alternative accommoda-
tion is yet to be identi ied for the
remaining 26 persons. The condi-
tions are con irmed deplorable."
He is also vowing to give the
matter greater attention.
Residents outside the HDC apartment building at Marcano Quarry Lands, Canada, yesterday.PICTURES ANISTO ALVES
Nichelle Moseley shows the damaged ceiling of her HDC apartment.
Members of the Malick Secondary School PTA protest outside the school in Morvant yesterday.
PICTURE SHIRLEY BAHADUR
HDC tenants paying
to live in squalor
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