Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 16th 2018 Contents Friday, March 16, 2018
The doors at the Mt Marie offices of
the National Insurance Board (NIB)
have been locked over the past two
weeks, leaving the public puzzled and
not knowing where to turn to conduct
Customers contacting the office
via telephone got no response, while
those visiting the location met with
closed doors and a sign stating, “Of-
fice Closed. We apologise for the in-
convenience caused,” but no reason
for the closure or when operations
would resume were mentioned. Secu-
rity officers stationed at the location
meanwhile revealed they were not at
liberty to divulge any information.
Tobago Today contacted an offi-
cial at the NIB’s head office in Port-
of-Spain. The official refused to give
any information about the closure of
the office, but said they were await-
ing word on when the Tobago office
would be safe to accommodate the
public. The official said, “As soon as
approval is given, the public would be
However, Tobago Today under-
stands that the RJB Building, where
the NIB’s Tobago office is located,
was deemed unsafe for occupation
and members of staff refused to work
under the poor working conditions.
Sources said alternative accommoda-
tion was being sought at a building at
Bacolet, but it has not been finalised.
Parents of children attending the
Whim Anglican School have begun
repairing the school’s fence at their
The parents kept their children at
home for two days last week, because
villagers were allegedly entering the
school to steal and threatening their
children. In addition, children wit-
nessed a violent altercation on the
school’s premises between two par-
ents of one of their peers.
“The parents start the work because
they are concerned about the safety of
their children and they fund part of it
and the teachers went back to work
in good faith,” Trinidad and Tobago
Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA)
Tobago Officer Orlando Kerr told To-
Kerr stressed that the parents and
not the Tobago House of Assembly’s
Education Division effected the re-
pairs. But he is still appealing to the
THA to help the parents.
“I am not sure if the parents have
the capacity to complete all of it (the
repairs) because the parent’s funds
are limited, but at least they have
started,” he said.
Meanwhile, a press release from
the Office of Chief Secretary and Sec-
retary of Education Kelvin Charles has
pledged his commitment to “the con-
tinued collaboration with the school’s
board of management” and has given
the assurance for “a timely resolution
to the problem.”
The release reassured Tobagonians
“that safety and security within our
(Tobago’s) schools continue to be high
Teachers at the Pentecostal Light
and Life Foundation High school
stayed away from classes on
Monday and Tuesday, citing se-
curity and safety concerns.
The structure of the govern-
ment-assisted school, which
is run by a board of directors
chaired by Rev Dr Glenroy
Frank—the pastor of Scarborough
People’s Pentecostal Church—
houses children at pre-school,
primary and secondary levels.
But the secondary school
teachers had been complain-
ing of several issues, including
non-working office equipment,
an incomplete perimeter fence
that allows outsiders to enter
the compound undetected,
vandalism of teachers’ cars by
students—including slashing of
tyres and destroying fog lights,
broken windows in classrooms,
falling ceilings and security cam-
eras which do not allow access
to recorded footage.
This was the second school in
which action was taken to high-
light problems. The week before,
parents of children attending
the Whim Anglican School kept
them home in protest over secu-
rity issues there.
Contacted about the situation,
Frank expressed surprise that
the teachers had staged the two-
“...They have not submitted
anything to me...and I heard is-
sues via the media...and some of
the persons are not speaking the
truth,” the pastor said.
When asked to clarify the issue
relating to the security cameras,
he said the cameras, though in-
stalled, were “deactivated.”
“...Some teachers reported
that I was spying on them and
there was a big protest against it
some years ago ... which caused
an Education Division delega-
tion to visit and say no cameras
in classrooms. It’s surprising that
they are now calling for footage,”
On the issue of repairs, he
said the school was not on the
Tobago House of Assembly’s
usual annual vacation repair
programme last year.
Addressing the faulty office
equipment issue, he said teach-
ers were asked to use a private
company to copy classroom ma-
terial, at the board’s expense, as
the school’s copier needed re-
pairs totalling over $20,000.
“Everywhere things are tight.
It’s money we don’t have,” the
chairman said, adding the board
is working on a fund-raising
event to finance the complete
fencing of the school.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and To-
bago’s Unified Teachers Asso-
ciation (TTUTA) Tobago officer
Orlando Kerr said the school’s
problems are not new.
“We have these problems for
many years and teachers de-
cided to take a stand to highlight
the ongoing situation,” Kerr told
Noting that he blames both the
THA’s Education Division and
the school’s board for the cur-
rent situation, he said matters
can be resolved if they meet to
discuss the way forward.
“When you hear Tobago’s
teachers take this kind of ac-
tion, it’s because of months and
months of waiting for the issues
to be resolved,” Kerr said.
closed 2 weeks
school fence repair
CASANDRA THOMPSON FORBES
Police and fire officials are yet
to ascertain the cause of a fire
which left five people in Mt St
George homeless last Thursday.
According to reports, the fire
started around 3.45 pm at Vil-
lage Street residence of Leon
Edwards and his sister Vissia
Three other occupants, includ-
ing a 14-year-old child, also lived
at the house.
Tobago Today understands
the family secured the property
and went away around 3.25pm,
but later received a call that the
house was on fire.
Despite efforts by the fire ser-
vice, the four-bedroom house
was totally destroyed.
Providence, a KFC employee,
told Tobago Today she believed
recent power outages on the is-
land may have contributed to
the incident, since they were ex-
periencing low voltage incidents,
including dimming of lights.
However, the cause of the blaze
is still being investigated.
Losses have been estimated at
Scarborough police and fire
officials are continuing investi-
Fire officials go through the ruins of the house after controlling the blaze.
PICTURE CASANDRA THOMPSON-FORBES
5 homeless after Tobago fire
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